Potential cyanide spillage serious

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Grace Tiden | Post Courier

AN environmental assessment report will soon be finalised by an East New Britain monitoring team who have been monitoring cyanide laden leach vats and heaps at the idle Sinivit gold mine.

Authorities in ENB faced with this situation are treating it as a very serious case, given there is potential for a disastrous cyanide spillage.

According to sources within developer New Guinea Gold Limited, the mine was put on care and maintenance since October 1 last year and only a handful of workers were at the mine site to look after the vats and properties.

However, the recent theft of special canvases used to cover these heaps and vats has caused authorities to worry even more.

The rain fall average in the area is around 28 mm a day and special durable canvases were imported to stop rain water from getting into the heaps and vats. Removing these canvases will allow rain water to increase the cyanide solution level.

The mine is located in the Baining Ranges has a total of 17 vats with some located on ridges and near cliff edges. The Baining Ranges is where most of the province’s rivers originate.

Authorities also fear possible landslips which could be very disastrous.

Monitoring Team Leader Florence Paisparea said it will take them another two weeks to finalize their environment assessment preliminary report.

The team started last week Monday and they have been continuously checking and monitoring the vats at the mine.

Most of the mine workers have left due to nonpayment of wages. Ms Paisparea said the skeleton staffs at the mine have been asked to stay on just to watch over the vats.

The team will continue to monitor the situation and the preliminary findings once completed will be handed over to the Mineral Resources Authority, the ENB Provincial Executive Council, the landowners, the Department of Environment and Conservation and other relevant bodies for immediate action.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

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