French scientists have revealed for the first time the disturbing impacts of marine dumping of tailings from the Ramu nickel mine. The mine has yet to reach its full production but already hundreds of tons of toxic tailings have been pumped in the seas along the Madang coastline.
The scientists say the tailings disposal by Chinese mining company MCC is already starting to destroy the Chemosynthesis process in Basamuk Bay. This is the process which plants and organisms in the sea depend on for survival at depths where light does not penetrate.
There is also concern for the future of PNG’s economically important tuna industry if the toxins in the tailings start to enter the food chain.
The scientists, who spent months doing their survey, say that the Madang coastline is one of the top 10 most important sites in the world because of its richness of different species of coral, fish, mollusks and crustaceans.
The scientific team will be handing a report of their findings to the PNG government but have no funding to return and monitor the further impacts of the waste dumping.