The National,Friday 13 January 2012
MINING operations at East New Britain’s Sinivit mine are supposed to remain scaled down as developer New Guinea Gold Ltd continue negotiations on landowner grievances.
But that is not the case, according to landowners and a provincial government team that visited the site this week.
Both parties confirmed the company resumed mining operations, breaching commitments made by all parties on Dec 30.
At the time, mine manager Eric Namaliu had said the company was keen to take on the issue step by step rather than immediately starting operations while landowner issues were outstanding.
He had said both parties would negotiate until they reach a solution, then the “mine could return to full operations”.
Namaliu assured the meeting comprising landowners, Mineral Resources Authority and provincial administration officers that only mine processing officers would be recalled on site to manage the vatting system to avoid overflow of tailings into rivers.
Douglas Augustine, chairman of the three villages under the Lulai Nakama Integrated land group, said they were happy to negotiate despite the court order to re-open the mine but maintained there would be no gold processing during the negotiation period.
The provincial government team that visited the mine on Monday to make physical assessments and verify reports of leaks from the processing vats or heaps was reportedly turned away at the gate by mine executives.
The team said from the gate, they could see mining operations in full swing.
With heavy rain experienced in East New Britain, there was a concern of a greater risk of seepage of tailings into the water systems.