Possibility of chemical spillage by Sinivit mine: Chan

Joy Kisselpar Sinivit

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.


1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

One response to “Possibility of chemical spillage by Sinivit mine: Chan

  1. Moses Koliwan

    I have just finished reading the Sinivit Cyanide Spillage and the SOE declared by ENBPG. I note that Minister for Mining has also directed an independent MRDC investigation.

    The number and volume of mining related accidents and the severe impacts of mining in PNG cannot be underplayed any longer.

    We need not look far at at lasting and severity of the effects and impacts of mining in PNG to acknowledge the realisties. Look at Panguna, Ok Tedi, Lihir, RamuNico and now Sinivit.

    When must we say enough is enough and ask ourselves one simple question and that is “Can PNG do without mining?”.

    And for argument sake “Singapore never needed a Panguna, a Ok Tedi, a Porgera, a Lihir, a Sinivit nor the proposed Freida River MIne?

    Haven’t we learnt enough yet from the Panguna experience and from the now the irreversible damage by Ok Tedi Mine on one of PNG’s two most prevalent and prominent river ecosystems and what impact this is now having on the people who live there? And, mind you this is no ‘fly by night’ impact. Only God knows how long this will last but certainly not in decades, centuries maybe.

    We just should no longer lay back and become passive individuals and communities of savvy people and who are ignorant and complacent and allow continued mining experiments which destroy environments, livelihoods and upset natural balance and well being.

    More importantly, our future generations have as much right and prerogative to enjoy this world in its pristine form and state like our ancestors did and we do to now. We can’t sit back and relax and say let the status quo be and let us keep learning from the bad mistakes we continue to make from mining activities. We cannot!

    The many bad lessons learnt from mining activities in PNG are largely due to arrogance and bad tasting intent and vision in the name of development. The time for that has gone. PNG is educated and informed enough to protect its people and its environment for sustainable livelihood and harmony between nature and people – something we have done for centuries.

    We cannot to remain ignorant and silent as individuals, communities, regions and a nation anymore. What is money compared to human well-being now and in the future? How will the change to made to the environment by mining support a sustainable future for me, my children and the generations to follow?

    Shouldn’t we be investing heavily in green economy (agriculture)? At least the potential return is still high and the overall impact and risk to environment and people are manageable at local level as I see.

    The recently announced Freida Copper Project does not and will not have a reference in my genius book of world records for best environmental safety and mining practices in the world. The company that has been granted the license to operate the mine only 9 years experience in Cambodia or some country of that sort.

    Freida River is a open pit mine same as Ok Tedi. In fact is across the ranges from Freida. Its situated on the Freida River which feeds into the Sepik River. The same as the tributaries linked to Ok Tedi Mine which fed into the main Fly River. If the effects of Ok Tedi is something to go by, I feel so sorry for the wonderful people of the mighty Sepik River.

    The impacts of the Ok Tedi Mine are also felt in the adjacent Gulf Province. Will Madang Province feel the environmental impacts of Freida Copper and Gold Mining Project? YES!!!!!!!!!!!

    The environment and lives of my Sepik River people and those of adjacent Madang Province is too high on the agenda, to say the very least.

    I am committed 100% to ensure that the Ok Tedi experience is not repeated in the Sepik to reduce is to a bowl of poison for the people and all the plants and animals and living creatures that call the Sepik River home.

    The fight begins now and we will resist Freida Copper Project until the last coin is squeezed out of the jelly bag.

    All responsible PNG leaders and elites will only see why this is so important, and why it is crucial to act out and voice this concern now on behalf of the present and the future generations of this very beautiful part of PNG – the Sepik.

    I am now pleading for public support for the ‘Stop Freida’ campaign. The preparations for this are well underway and its launch will be in Angoram Station around mid June, 2015.

    If you wish to support this course by way of comments, advice and discussions’ email me on moseskoliwan@gmail.com or call me on +67571580576.

    I need support for environmental groups and other pressure groups, including scientists and social scientists, NGOs, individuals and people with interest on environmental protection and protection of vulnerable indigenous populations and groups.

    The Sepik River people, their culture and their environment is at stake. Come stand with me with one voice and one action on Freida and stop it.

    Moses Kolwan

    Moses Koliwan

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