Former BCL workers reject local environmental knowledge in heated FB debate

As Rio Tinto/BCL prepares to reopen the Panguna mine with the help of the Momis government and the new Mining Act, a heated debate has broken out in the social media over the Panguna mine’s environmental effects.

Expatriate workers again taunt and cast doubt over local environmental concerns. With typical colonial arrogance, the former Australian mine workers claim their argument is based on ‘science’ while their Bougainvillean opponents argument is based on emotion and ignorance.

For the expatriate mine staff their science is the only correct science. It is beyond comprehension that local knowledge may be equal or superior, despite the fact local communities have thousands of years of collective knowledge of their environment.

All of this is a timely reminder of what Panguna will again endure if the Australian mining multinational returns…

Pollution panguna



Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

3 responses to “Former BCL workers reject local environmental knowledge in heated FB debate

  1. FB Debate, I was the Manager Environment at the time of the dispute and closure, I lived on Bougainville for 19 years and love the people like brothers and sisters. The facts are that in 1989 there was two audits by a respected NGO from New Zealand , the outcome was that BCL was on the right track on Environmental Management in all aspects including the new pipeline tailings disposal, however they were critical about aspects of Community relations and especially the relative small amount of funds collected by the PNG Government to develop Bougainville. I was the last BCL person to speak to Francis Ona during the presentation by the Auditors. Francis and Senior Bougainvilleans involved in discussions at the time had the opportunity to get an optimal outcome for Bougainville, unfortunately the situation did get out of hand partly caused by uncontrolled violence by the riot squad and return by the BRA.
    The facts of copper sulphate pollution as can be seen from the pictures, this is mainly due to oxidation of the waste rock, this was already recognised and would have been addressed in time by BCL if the operation would have continued. The copper sulphate is cause by oxidation of chalcopyrite the main mineral in BCL concentrate and oxidation of iron pyrites contained in the waste rock stockpile. Fortunately the pyrite concentration in the tailings is relatively low and if disposed in deep sea water these tailings will remain inert. Flotation chemicals were very low and will decompose in a relative short time span. Ramu press give the ABG Government a chance and let BCL/Rio Tinto a chance to clean up any remaining pollution, Bougainville need additional income in addition to agriculture to be Independent. There are at least two Bougainvillean Scientists who could be in charge to make this happen. The ABG and the people of Bougainville can decide on any conditions required by negotiating from a position of strength. Please Consider, Johannes van der Linden. Rio has an example in Kal;imantan Indonesia how to manage mine closure with minimal environmental damage including the mine Pit.

  2. Tree Frog

    Brother I am sorry to say your time is up.

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