Mining giant BHP Billiton, the company responsible for the Ok Tedi tailings disaster in Western Province, is very clear that it will not consider Deep Sea Tailings Disposal in any of its current mining prospects and it is unlikely to change that position at any time in the future.
This policy, from one of the largest mining companies in the world and probably the one with the greatest experience of what can go wrong with tailings disposal (especially in PNG), stands in stark contrast to the position of the Chinese government and Australian owned Marengo Mining who are both planning to dump millions of tons of toxic waste into the sea off Madang from their Ramu and Yandera mines.
This is what BHP Billiton says on its website:
We will not commit to a new mining project that disposes of waste rock or tailings into a river.
In addition, we have decided not to pursue Deep Sea Tailing Placement (DSTP) as a potential tailing disposal option for any of our current prospects. We also believe that, given the very specific circumstances where DSTP could be considered appropriate, it is unlikely that the technology will be pursued in any of our future developments.
It should also not be forgotten that while the Chinese government is happy to pump mine waste into the seas off Papua New Guinea, it has banned such practices in its own country – a shocking example of both hypocrisy and a willingness to exploit the people of PNG.