PNG's Basamuk Bay facing Environmental Contamination from Mine Waste

Basamuk Bay in the Raikos District of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea  is facing grave environmental contamination after an acidic semi liquid mixture overflowed from the Ramu Nickel Mine’s refinery into the sea and nearby environment.

Chairlady of Basamuk People’s Voice Ms. Kessy Sawang confirmed with FM100 News that the sea and beaches are all colored in red since last Friday.

She said they had been advised that the acid level from the overflowing mixture is very dangerous and harmful for humans and the environment.

Ms. Sawang said the landowners concern is whether or not RamuNiCo Management (MCC) Limited have an Operational Environmental Management Plan (OEMP), Industrial Waste Management Plan and hazardous material management and control policies as there have never been any implementation of those in the mine’s 8 year operation.

The landowners also question that if the mining company does not have those plans and policies, why have the government granted the company the permit to operate.

The Conservation and Environment Promotion Authority (CEPA) and Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) have also been put on notice whether or not they have done thorough environmental inspection within and around the refinery and the impact areas to see if there is any breach in the Environmental Code of Practice.

What was established from the recent issue was that this issue of Deep Sea Tailings Placement (DSTP) was not a new one as it has been taken to Court during the construction of the mine.

Despite the National Court’s findings that the DSTP’s operation is contrary to Goal No. 4 of the National Constitution and will both be a public and private irritation, it allowed it to go ahead for economic interests.

It was also established that the court at the time ordered the State and the mining company to inform the landowners every three (3) months on tailings and waste disposal issues concerning the mine for the life of the mine.

The company and State have not followed that Court Order over the 8 years of the mine’s life.

FM100/Pacific Mining News

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