Grace Tiden | Post Courier
IMMEDIATE action is needed to stop any potential cyanide spillage at the idle Sinivit gold mine in East New Britain Province.
Ronald Gumaira from the Department of Environment and Conservation has joined the ENB monitoring team that has been monitoring cyanide-laden leach vats and heaps at the mine site and according to him, the issue was very serious
Their visits to the site have revealed shocking details of unsafe vat and heap locations. It is believed developer New Guinea Gold Limited had put the mine under care and maintenance in October last year.
There are now only seven workers mending the site but without proper logistic support. Most workers have left following nonpayment of their wages.
Currently, there are two tonnes of cyanide at the mine site storage as well as over K100,000 worth of explosives, according to the team.
The team has been monitoring the situation following the theft of special canvases used to cover these heaps and vats and will produce an environmental assessment report soon, which will be handed over to authorities for immediate action.
Mr Gumaira said of all the 17 vats located at the mine, Vat M and Vat J were now both located two and five metres from the edge of the ridge.
“It is very serious because it continues to rain,” he said.
The mine is located in the Baining Mountains and the rain fall average is around 28 mm a day.
He said the current locations of the vats were not safe and anything could happen. Authorities fear possible landslips and the potential cyanide spillage.
He said any cyanide spillage will affect the environment as well as the river systems in ENB.
Mr Gumaira said the ENB Provincial Government as well as the national Government and relevant authorities need to act immediately.
He also said awareness should be immediately carried out in communities near the mine to prepare the people for any potential spillage.