A Chinese supervisor was tragically killed in a fatal accident at the Ramu nickel mine site at Kurumbukari yesterday.
The supervisor had instructed a local worker to climb onto a load of pipes that had arrived on a delivery truck to untie the ropes securing the load. When the man sensibly refused to do as he had been instructed, as it was clearly unsafe, his supervisor decided to demonstrate that it was perfectly okay by doing the job himself.
Unfortunately, as the supervisor loosened the ropes the pipes moved and he lost his balance and fell to the ground where he was crushed to death by the pipes as they slipped off the truck.
This unfortunate accident highlights the daily clash of cultures between the Chinese and indigenous Papua New Guineans. For the Chinese health and safety and the life of a peasant worker is as nothing compared to the needs of the State and the greater purpose of the Nation while of course in PNG the life of the individual and his family is everything.
Sadly, more deaths are inevitable as the mine nears its commissioning phase and we must ask the question; if the Chines operators of the mine – the Chinese Metallurical Construction company (MCC) – cannot stop a fire in its kitchen because of shoddy construction, can rip the genitals off a worker because there is no safety equipment available; and if one of their own supervisors can tragically kill themselves doing something patently unsafe; what hope can we have that they will not destroy the Ramu river; that their pipeline will not leak; and, that their submarine tailings disposal will not destroy our marine environment?