THE approval by the Government for the disposal of mine waste at the coastal waters of Morobe is legal but could be fatal to the marine ecosystem as well as people living along the coast in the long run.
Under the mining laws, the developers and the Government are the sole negotiators at the development forum.
The landowners and the provincial government are stakeholders but are regarded as spectators agreeing to whatever the developer and the Government decides.
Environmental assessments were done by the developer and were presented during the development forum.
The party who assesses and approve the environmental permit is the Government, through the Environment Conservation and Climate Change minister, as per the mining laws.
The Morobe government and the landowners now have no say but to spectate.
Papua New Guinea, being a party to international treaties such as Convention on Biological Diversity which imposes responsibility to the government to take robust steps, plans and strategies towards sustaining and conserving biological diversity seems to ignore that.
The Government seems to ignore the significance of conserving environment.
It is rather focused on the economic benefits, which seems to be the driving force behind the approval of deep sea tailings placement.
But for the majority of Morobe people and its marine life, it will be devastating and will affect the generations to come.
The only option left to seek redress is going to court.
Credit goes to the Morobe government for standing behind its people and fight the Government’s selfish decision.
I believe if the Morobe legal team can invoke the sustainable approaches stipulated under our international treaties to conserve our natural environment and argue on it, Morobe can survive this legal battle.