No need for Ok Tedi tailings dam, Pundari says

Sadly a deformed infant a mother in the Middle fly area Western province. The Child deform situation resulting from BHP Billiton operation in OK tedi and direct discharge of toxic mine waste into the fly River system

Sadly a deformed infant and mother in the Middle Fly area of Western province. BHP Billiton owned and operated the Ok Tedi mine which directly discharged toxic mine waste into the Fly River system

The National aka The Loggers Times

ENVIRONMENT and Conservation Minister John Pundari says there is no need to build a tailings dam along the Fly River because damage to the environment had already been done.

He said in Parliament during debate on the Mining (Ok Tedi 11th Supplementary Agreement) Bill:

“We might have to reconsider a tailings dam going forward. I do not undermine the bill that is before us. I am in support of it.

“The environment damage is not a new thing (along the Fly River) for so many years, the damage is there.

“I am in total support of a tailings dam, but I just want to see a better way, going forward.

“Given the fact that the damage is there, I’m just thinking that if BHP had earlier built a tailings dam, the impact of the damage that is there would probably be different now.

“Give that the damage is done, would a tailings dam create a miracle for us?

“How many years would it take, even after a tailings dam is built, for natural occurrences to recover? I’m just posing this thought for us. ?Is there a better way forward with a tailings dam, or without a tailings dam?”


1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

One response to “No need for Ok Tedi tailings dam, Pundari says

  1. johannes van der Linden

    It is true that most of the tailings are already disposed in the Fly river, as of the last few years most of the pyrites have been separated from the tailings and buried in a safe and permanent way to prevent these pyrites oxidising and forming sulphuric acid. The ore of OK Tedi contains around 5 % of pyrites with an acid generating potential of several thousand tonnes of sulphuric acid a day. However if the pyrites are under water oxidation is very slow. But during draughts the pyrites will at least partly exposed and will oxidise causing the river to become acid and cause fish and other aquatic life to die. If a decision is made not to build a tailings dam at least the pyrites should be separated and stored safely. I was there when the tailings dam collapsed ( as a visitor). I have been involved in tailings dams for other high pyrites ore in Laos and Indonesia which worked very well. Why not have a look at these? Also BHP had a extensive Environmental Department at OK Tedi and should have a model of the effects of tailings and pyrites on the river. Records?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s