Vessel to conduct environment exploration


A DEEP sea marine research vessel is in Lihir, Namatanai district, New Ireland, to conduct environmental exploration along the New Britain Trench in the Pacific Ocean.
The mv Zhang Jian arrived in Lihir last weekend.
Staff on board will sample seafloor sediment and conduct other marine surveys until September 3, 2016.
The visit to Lihir was commissioned by gold mine developer Newcrest Mining Limited.
It is the mother ship of Rainbow Fish, a submersible capable of diving to 11,000 metres.
Welcoming the visiting 16 scientists from three Chinese universities and crew members, Lihir Mining Area Landowners executive chairman James Laketan said the people of Lihir were looking forward to the survey and exploration findings.
“Environment and health issues are among our priority areas of concern. Deep-sea tailings have been banned in most resource project areas around the world,” he said,
“But the story has been different here in Papua New Guinea, especially for the Lihir gold and Ramu nickel and cobalt projects.
“Such surveys will identify the amount of sediment and wastes in our waters and coastlines and assist the Government and local authorities manage and prevent damage to our marine environment and protect the health of our people.”
He said since mining started on the island, villagers had been experiencing health and other concerns as a result of chemical spills contaminating the environment.
“While control mechanisms have been established, there is no 100 per cent guarantee on prevention of health issues relating to mining,” he said.
“LMALA has raised these issues time and again with the developer and we will continue to do so for the good of Lihirian people.
“We are hopeful that with its state-of-the-art facilities, the Zhang Jian team will deliver findings that will help all stakeholders continue to properly monitor and manage our ocean environment.”
Zhang Jian is carrying 16 scientists from the Tongji University, Shanghai Ocean University and Chinese Academy of Sciences who will test the navigation abilities of the ship and its scientific equipment before it heads out on a more challenging voyage to the 11,000-metre-deep Mariana Trench at the end of year.