Joy Kisselpar | PNG Loop
Mining Minister Byron Chan says his department believes there is a possibility of a spillage of chemical by Sinivit Gold Mine.
He says an investigative team from the Mineral Resources Development Corporation was sent last week to carry out investigations.
Chan says Sivinit has also lodge an application for the renewal of its mining license, however the department is hesitant because of the current situation.
A report of the damages to environment is expected to be presented to the minister next week.
PNG Loop has reported that the East New Britain Provincial Executive Council has declared a State of Emergency on Sinivit gold mine to look into the possible environmental damage from cyanide leakage in the area.
The PEC has directed the provincial administration to release K300,000 to address immediate dangers of the environmental damage and has endorsed a submission to Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) to put a stop to any negotiations with investors regarding the mine.
Chairman of Finance, Planning and Administration and Governor Ereman ToBaining Jnr said the SOE was issued recently by the director for environment from the Department of Environment and Conservation.
This 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.
ToBaining Jnr said there is a clear observation of chemical spillage into the river system mainly in Rapmaringa and Nengmutka that feeds Warangoi River.
“The vegetation is already drying affecting flora and fauna and the colour change in the nearby river system has already affecting river life which has got a potential to destroy marine life along our coastal communities,” he said.
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 that is flowing directly into the river streams.
A technical team comprising officers from DEC, MRA and the provincial administration were expected to collect water samples at the Rapmaringa and Nengmutka rivers. They will send the samples to the laboratory in Lae to verify existence of cyanide.