Dept of Environment says dead fish ‘just natural’

By Oseah Philemon

A Department of Environment and Conservation team which conducted investigations into the Markham River dead fish report says the Hidden Valley gold mine is not responsible for the death of fish species found along the Markham River and the Labu area last week.

The department’s technical adviser Goro Asigau who is leading the two – man team with departmental lawyer Benjamin Passingan told the Post-Courier yesterday their investigations over the weekend confirmed that there was no chemical spill or discharge from the mine into the river system that could have led to the dead fish being found along the Markham River as reported by the Labu people. Mr Asigau said the department receives weekly reports from the mine which shows that the quality of water discharged from the mine is within the required PNG standards.

The DEC does not conduct its own independent assessment of the water condition from the mine and relies entirely on the mining company to provide it with information on a weekly basis.

The department has issued two different permits to the mine – the Water Discharge Permit which specifies the accepted standards of water quality being discharged from the mine and the Water Extraction Permit which specifies the amount of water the mine can get for its usage.

Mr Asigau said the team – having confirmed that the source of the deaths of the fish was not the mine – then conducted an aerial survey of other areas in the Bulolo District. The hired helicopter was paid for by the mining company.

The team flew over the Kumalu River where there were heavy mud flows as well as the Banir and Langimar rivers where at least 10 different landslips had been observed in the catchments of the two rivers.

He said their preliminary conclusions were that the landslips may have caused dams in the area to burst and empty material into the river systems which may have been responsible for the deaths of the fish.



Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

9 responses to “Dept of Environment says dead fish ‘just natural’

  1. Tree Frog

    Well this seems credible. Anyone else been on the ground?

  2. Joe Auo

    How can the DEC team investigating the cause of the dead fish when they have not taken any fish or dead eels etc to test the cause of the death. The checmicals or bacteria or virus that may have caused the death of the fish and other creatures in the river system. Sampls should be taken from slected locations of the entire river system to make a proper conclusion. It wouls seem that the DEC staff tottaly rely on the Data given to them by the MMJV rather than take independent tests. The whole DEC monitoring system is flawed and make one wonder whether the people who actually work their have any crendentials to be taking a role of trust and have an analytical mind to carry out their duties without fear or favor. DEC???????? Just a puppet!!!!

  3. wesely

    The whole of te government of PNG is flawed.
    Blame the friggen Minister who is responsible for the lack of funding for even the most simple of testing equipment.
    Don’t let the MINISTER get away with it!!!
    Get him to commit and for goodness sake, make him understand the HE AS MINISTER IS RESPONSIBLE!!!!!

  4. Wow! where did the government’s team of Aquatic scientists analsysed their specimens? The minister should let the nation know & produce concrete evidence form their findings ASAP as the solution is already revealed to the people of PNG.
    “Natural death” in terms of what causesmust be fully justified.Safe the future!

  5. You can not make conclusions if you have not done tests. How can you fly over the site and make assumptions? in cases like these, you need to be on the ground to know what you are talking about. If it was a natural phenomenon, dead fish should be turning up in all major rivers every now and then, and this should not be a concern to anyone. How come locals around the area are so concerned?

    Does the DEC depend only on data collected by MMJV? what is these data was flawed to favor the company.

    Mr Asigau, please shut up and live us the truth, in case you do not know it yet, its all due to a cyanide spill.

  6. wesely

    Could the dead fish be the result of people fishing with dynamite or AN60?

  7. Bill Jenkins

    This could be the result of all kinds of things. People are jumping to all kinds of conclusions which is unfortunate for everyone involved.

  8. Surely, at this stage it may mean people are prone to making all kinds of things but these very people have lived & survived on these resources from generations to generations and they exactly know & can tell that things are wrong, as to what was never fore told nor expereinced by themslves or their ancestors.It for this that these simple village people can see & sense and know something serious affected their aquatic food-web.
    People must be told the truth as truth liberates all obstacles.

  9. Patriot Port Moresby

    I think the name Asigau is wrongly used in the newspapers and continously used on this site. Actually the guy who is DEC’s consultant is Goro Arigae, and not Asigau as mentioned. The Asigaus are problem Gabagaba village and none of them is employed by DEC….

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