By ELIZABETH VUVU
NEW Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan wants the Simberi gold mine to stay shut until it has conformed to ecological requirements.
He said a reputable international organisation should assess the environment in and around the mine area instead of the Department of Environment and Conservaton (DEC).
“My people have been treated with contempt and the provincial government will not take this any longer,” he said.
Sir Julius took a swipe at DEC over its inaction to look into the mine’s environmental concerns.
The Simberi gold mine was shut down indefinitely following a stop work order issued by the Mineral Resource Authority’s (MRA) mines inspection branch last Dec 21.
The stop work order was issued following concerns raised over health, safety and welfare issues affecting local communities on the island as a result of the exploration and mining operations of the Simberi Gold Co Ltd.
Sir Julius said he had raised the matter at the ministerial level with Mr Benny Allan and has advised them about the people’s health concerns.
Sir Julius said both the mining company and DEC had ignored the provincial government’s position and “this could no longer be tolerated”.
He demanded that an independent and reputable overseas environmental entity be engaged to provide an independent assessment after which a report addressing the people’s concerns should be produced.
Sir Julius said his government would make its stand whether or not to reopen the mine based on the assessment.