Ramu mine waste dumping trial – Summary day 2

Despite attempts by the mining company to stop them going into the witness box, five further plaintiff’s – all landowners from along the Madang coastline – gave evidence about their concerns for the environment and their subsistence lifestyles if the waste dumping from the Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea is allowed.

Lawyers for the mining company, MCC, argued the plaintiff’s did not need to give oral evidence and the judge could just read their affidavits. The lawyers had obviously been unnerved by the sincerity and bon-fides of the first two plaintiff’s who gave evidence on Tuesday afternoon – who came across as mature, decent and genuinely concerned for the future of their communities – and wanted to avoid any further reinforcement of the plaintiff’s cause.

But the judge agreed with the plaintiff’s lawyer that each plaintiff needed to go into the witness box, at least to identify their affidavit, and could be asked further questions.

In the event, 5 plaintiff’s (Caspar Angua, Martin D Yagau, James Singai, Kamanang Namur and Paul Kamang) gave evidence and were cross-examined. Each remained resolute that they did not want to see thier people’s land and sea destroyed by dumping the mine waste in the sea.

After the lunch break Justice Cannings read out his lengthy decision on the application by a further 998 new landowners to be joined as parties to the proceedings in opposition to the marine waste dumping.

The judge allowed all 998 landowners to join.

The rest of the afternoon was taken up with the evidence and cross examination of the principal plaintiff, Louis Medaing. Like his fellow plaintiff’s he remained calm and was resolute in his opposition to the waste dumping.

On Thursday, 10 February, the scientific evidence will begin with the plaintiff’s case being supported first by an ecologist, an oceanographer and a marine geochemist.

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6 Comments

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

6 responses to “Ramu mine waste dumping trial – Summary day 2

  1. kambkilgna

    The beginning of good things to come. Mining companies have had a field day in this country. The Fly river and its tributaries are dead as a result of Ok Tedi, the Strickland River is dead upstream and dead of aquatic species is slowly coming downstream into Lake Murray. Misima had a DSTP which leaked cyanide in mid-2004 killing tons of marine animals and scarring the living daylight out of the local people there. I was there and did autopsy on the dead fish that were collected. A lousy K250,000.00 fine was paid to DEC by Placer Dome. The Hawabango River is turning red with all waste from Tolukuma Mines. The Watut River and its tributaries are also in the same picture. Not only the marine and aquatic animal species in these river systems are affected here. The local Papua New Guineans who have lived near these rivers and depended on these rivers for their survival are also affected. Their food source is gone, skin diseases are increasing and long term bone, brain and other cancers are becoming more common. The long term consequences in the genetics of these people have not been properly studied. Heavy metals from these tailings will affect reproductive systems of these people, meaning that there will not be able to bear children. This is subtle genocide whether intentionally or otherwise. MMC, DEC, MRA and Highlands Pacific must never be allowed to dump these vast amount of toxic waste into Basamuk. Judge Cannings is doing well including the plaintiffs. Please keep pushing. Justice prevails for the good of mankind. Greed will never win in the end. Victory to all local people. Our Government over the years has allowed gradual, invisible and subtle genocide of its own people to be committed by major mining and logging companies. This case will teach them a lesson. Maybe Misima, Porgera, Ok Tedi, Hawabango and the Watut people should take their cases to Madang and ask to join these proceedings. We will then see the power of the people vs State and Multinational companies. Thank You. Kambkilgna. Yavo Base Camp. Strickland River. WP.

  2. j kross

    Do not, NEVER, ever compare riverine discharges with DSTP. It is bad science and nothing but propaganda. It is a flawed interpretation of mine waste discharge systems. I agree, I’m against loads of mine waste within river systems (which is unhealthy for rivers). Its a choice between the rivers and the safe open deep sea environment, one saline, the other fresh, both possessing different properties to absorb and nullify the intake of slurry at vastly different rates. And toxic, the most abused word in anti-mine trollogy. What comes out at the end of the pipe must be known. Noken giaman. There is no cyanide here. I would not teach science students this garbage. Misima was an accident, like your dump truck turning over and tipping its waste on the street.

    I’m not for Somare or the Chinese. I’m for science, the most abused part of human endeavour screwed up by climate scientists, anti-mine activists and anti-third world development fanatics who want us to remain in caves, naked and eating raw crab for their Discovery/ Natgeo BS. Baaaaaarghh!!!!!

    • j kross

      DSTP is the only safe way to go for Ramu if the process plant will be at Basamuk, not a landbased TSF within a 50km radius of Basamuk.

  3. Painim Aut Gut Pastaim

    I salute kambkilgna for standing up for his people however despite what the Bulolo MP and his learned(?) supporters might have you believe by tweaking the colours on an old photograph, the Hidden Valley mine doesn’t discharge tailings into the river but rather into a well designed tailings dam.

    As j kross says, noken giaman!

  4. Daniel Katie

    Very interesting, i hope marengo is watching this very closly.

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