Simberi mine warned: one more spill and you are out

By Harlyne Joku*

One more spillage and the Simberi gold mine will be completely shut down, the director of Environment Dr Wari Iamo warned yesterday.
Dr Iamo said the leakage incident at the mine’s mix tailings disposal system in the New Ireland Province in March spoke volumes of the strength of the current deep sea disposal system in place.

“We hope this is the first and last spillage of this nature and we hope the entire system is protected. They must take this incident and our warning seriously and operate with care,” Dr Iamo said.

He gave the warning yesterday after members of the Environment Council met the same day and reviewed his (Dr Iamo’s) decision to issue an Environment Protection Order (EPO) against the company on March 16.
The Council, headed by temporary chairman addressing the Simberi slurry discharge case, Dr Simon Saulei, decided to lift the order after submissions from Simberi lawyers and independent invesigator Cardno Acil.

The company reported a leakage in its mixed tailings disposal system in early March to the Department of Environment and Conservation and advised it was doing its best to stop the leakage.
The DEC acted swiftly and sent its officers to investigate.

For the first time ever in the history of DEC and its monitoring of mining operations, the director issued an Environment Protection Order (EPO) on March 16 stopping the operation of the mine to allow for an independent investigation.
Dr Saulei said the company lawyers made a convincing submission to the council yesterday that the company had complied with the requirements of the EPO.

* First published in the Post Courier



Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

8 responses to “Simberi mine warned: one more spill and you are out

  1. Esalom Patai

    Harlyne , did you ever find out what happened to the whale you confirmed as being killed by the Simberi mine?

  2. jayne safihao

    Harlyne, long time no hear. thats a spot on story. Our DSTP case should be monitoring Simberi’s progress or rather disaster now that they will be sharing notes on the monitoring processes and plans regarding the DSTP. Our case will be on May 23, for Cannings to decide whether MCC goes ahead with the tailing or otherwise.
    A pipe seepage along the Raicoast area in two places have already been reported but outrightly denied by the developer, the provinces governor, leaving the locals even more confused as to whose interest will they be entangled in. Fine mess if you ask me. Wait till the beautiful turqouise bay turns brown and ugly.

  3. Esalom Patai

    jayne safihao, you’ve confused me.
    If the independent investigator Cardno Acil’s report to members of the Environment Council, including the Chairman of the Council,Dr Simon Saulei, established that there was no disaster, what are you referring to when you talk of disasters?
    The biggest disaster we face is allowing the thoroughly discredited and corrupt head of the DEC , Wari Iamo to continue his wicked and ungodly rape of the country’s forests.

  4. William F Cody

    There was a small leak from a tap on one of the tanks within the land based containment zone which the independant consultants to Wari Iamo confirmed.
    The whole disaster story was all made up hype by Sir Juliarse Chan, probably because the company has taken the trouble to ensure that the land owners benifits are paid to the land owners and not to Sir Julius.
    Its amazing what utter nonsense gets published and believed in PNG, its not surprising the Nation is is such an appalling mess.
    And isnt Sir Julius the guy who opted for war/genocide of the peoples of Boganville???

  5. Wesley Lokotoiya

    The Department of Environments most Senior Officer visited Simberi right after the incident and formed a view that the Mine should keep operating and the incident was very minor and insignificant.
    Typical of the Wiagani W****
    Thats how serious the so calle Disaster WAS NOT.

  6. Esalom Patai

    I’d still like to know what happened to the whale.

  7. William F Cody

    Apparently the whale retained a prominant Port Morseby Legal firm to represent it as it is currently under a suppression order from the lawyers for Simberi.
    Apparently the story gets thicker as its been discovered that the whale was, whilst swimming past simberi Isalnd, in the paid employ of Sir Juliarse Chan.

  8. Wesley Lokotoiya

    NO Dead whale
    No whale at all.
    No massive damage to the environment
    No danger to the environment.
    No unauthorized spillage.
    No angry land owners who, one might have thought would be the first to see a dead whale and/or, the massive pollution etcetera.
    No coastline pollution…..nothing at all.
    Just a whole lot of political hype from outside the Ministers office, but this is not the first time.
    It seems that some of the fat cats in Wiagani have signed a Deed with the devil and will stop at nothing to distract the public from what they are doing at Medang with the Chinese at Ramu.
    Now, not to make too big an issue of the whole matter, but for completeness, would someone please explain why the mine had to be shut down for so many weeks at a huge loss to the government revenue and the peoples of Simber for NO GOOD REASON.
    DEC was immediately informed of the leakage by the Mine operator.
    DEC senior inspectors went out the next day, inspected the mine, advised the Mine management to CONTINUE in its operations and went home.
    This position is entirely INCONSISTANT with what then happened, or in fact, had not happened.
    Then the Director of the environment shut the mine down.
    Then, the Director of The Environment engaged international independent consultants (apparently the Director of DEC does not trust his own senior staff, an utterly disgraceful state of affairs) to do an independent investigation.
    The consultants then reported back to DEC that there was NO relevant DAMAGE, NO relevant EVENT warranting the shutdown of the mine or, for that matter, making of the quite improper public threat that if “IT” ever happened again the mine would be shut down for good.
    In short, all just chest beating self-serving nonsense for the PNG administration to make it look as though they are doing some-thing when they are no doing anything.
    Now the Director of Environment and the Managing Director of MRA, acting OUTSIDE the scope of known fact and law, have breached their duty to all parties to the MoA at Simberi.
    Because they chose to self-aggrandize themselves at the cost of the National Interest.
    All it was a small leak from a worn pipe fixture that caused no measurable change to the environment.
    The reaction from both the Director of DEC and the MD of MRA was utterly disproportionate to the event and demonstrates a complete lack of judgment on both their parts.
    Worse, it raises the specter of the complete incompetence to properly and rationally administer the industry.
    Apparently, that amongst other reasons is why Kepas Wali was sacked from his role in MRA in so far as his contract was not renewed.
    Only the Minister for mining, the Honorable John Pundari has acted sensibly and in the national interest in this matter.
    Thank God there is at least one sane, rational, selfless and focused politician involved in this matter.

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