Will the police be pursuing New Guinea Gold and its executives for the damage and costs they have caused… Of course not!
Elizabeth Vuvu | The National aka The Loggers Times
A STATE of emergency has been declared on Sinivit gold mine, in East New Britain, to detoxicate the cyanide contamination and contain potential pollution within the vicinity.
The provincial executive council last Thursday approved a request from the provincial government to declare an SOE on the mine.
The PEC directed the provincial administration to release K300,000 to address immediate dangers of the environmental damage while awaiting funding help from the National Government.
The council endorsed a submission to MRA to put a stop to any negotiations with investors regarding the mine and for the provincial administration to immediately engage a civil works company to build barriers around the vats.
Governor Ereman ToBaining Jnr said the emergency authorisation was issued recently (Jan 21) by the director for environment from the Department of Environment and Conservation, Gunther Joku.
That follows concerns from provincial authorities and landowners on the threat of a potential cyanide spillage into the river systems due to the unattended vatting system since the Canadian developer, New Guinea Gold, ceased production last September.
Due to heavy rainfall and exposure of the vats as a result of theft of canvases used to protect vats, it was now leaking cyanide into the environment and may have a spill over into the Warangoi River systems.
ToBaining Jnr said some vats were in grave danger of collapsing due to landslip about two metres away and the presence of heavy cyanide smell meant that the chemical level in the vats was rising due to heavy rainfall.
He said the developer has not complied with environmental requirements in building a barricade around the heaps to contain the spillage and treated instead of flowing direct into the river streams. Yesterday the technical team comprising officers from DEC, MRA and the provincial administration began collecting water samples at the Rapmaringa and Nengmutka rivers that would be sent to the laboratory in Lae to verify if it contained cyanide.