People exposed to Mining waste, says PNG Minister Mori

 A PNG GOVERNMENT minister has admitted that toxic waste from a gold mine in East New Britain has not been disposed of safely. Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori made the frank admission about the Sinivit gold mine. “We have in Sinivit a very sad case and I must admit that as a Government minister,” he said. 

“We have a very dangerous situation where there is exposure to cyanide and if we don’t get our act together and if the Government does not make the money available for us to decontaminate the site and get rid of the waste, then we will subject our people to potential dangers.” Mori said plans were underway to export the material overseas for safe storage. “We may be considering exporting to other countries such as Australia,” he said. He said the decontamination and cleanup of the cyanide waste in the river system at the mine would cost between K6 million to K8 million. “The volumes of the creeks there are not enough to allow for natural dilution and, therefore, if such waste including those that are exposed make their way into the creeks, it may have catastrophic consequences,” he said. “We are not only looking at a cleanup but we have to decontaminate before we cleanup. “We have got to put in access roads but most importantly, the waste that can be captured will have to be removed from site and stored elsewhere that is much safer than having them stored in the ground.” Mori said unfortunately, the Government was not yet able to provide the funding but an assessment has already been done for the decontamination and clean up exercise.

The National / Pacific Mining Watch

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