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Environmental issues taken seriously at Sinivit Gold mine in PNG

THE departments of mining and environment and conservation are taking the situation at Sinivit gold mine in East New Britain seriously, Mining Minister Byron Chan says.
He was responding to concerns raised by Governor Ereman ToBaining on the threat of a potential cyanide spillage into the river systems due to the unattended mine vatting system since Canadian developer New Guinea Gold stopped production last September.
Chan said he was aware of the situation at Sinivit and that as of last week, officers from the mining and environment departments and the Mineral Resources Authority were in the province to assess the vats
and check on skeleton staff.
“I believe there is a current threat to the eco-system and possible damage to environment and possible spillage of waste into Warangoi River that is being assessed and a report will be submitted to my office by next week,” Chan said.
“Currently the directors and the company have lodged a license renewal application but my department is unwilling to renew it due to the current situation at the mine site and nearby communities.
“Officers are attending to this matter seriously and we will hold those responsible for whatever outcome of that report.
“At this stage, I am not happy with the performance of the company and we have not re-issued their licence for operation.”
ToBaining said the developer, without notice to provincial government and landowners, deserted the mine and left behind a skeleton staff, including a caretaker mine manager, to monitor the mine’s vat tailing system.
He said according to preliminary on site inspections by provincial administration officers and Department of Environment and Conservation officers, the unattended vats posed a real threat to the ecosystem and general community with regards to out flow of waste to the river system.
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