We have heard these empty promises so many times before – from the likes of BHP (Ok Tedi), Rio Tinto (Panguna) and Barrick Gold (Porgera) – but still the government and bureaucrats are happy to believe the miners as if the previous disasters never happened…
Focus on environment issues
The National aka The Loggers Times
PANAUST will bring the best environmental management standards, including management of tailings and mine waste to the Frieda River Project, a company spokesperson says.
The A$25 million (K53m) project is located on the border of East and West Sepik.
The Australian miner gave the assurance following concern by prominent lawyer Alois Jerewai over the implementation of a proper waste disposal mechanism at the Frieda copper-gold mine in West Sepik.
Jerewai had said with current developments taking place at the project site, there was no clear explanation as to whether there were proper waste management policies in place to assure the people in the area of their livelihood.
A company official said PanAust has had considerable experience with tailings management at its operations in Laos (Asia) where the challenges were very similar to Frieda River in relation to topography, high rainfall (tropical conditions) and the presence of downstream communities.
“The Government of Papua New Guinea has in place an approvals regime that requires these issues to be properly managed,” the official said.
“PanAust is undertaking extensive community consultation prior to any development and this will include communities along the Sepik River.
“PanAust is proposing that waste and tailings will be placed within an engineered integrated storage facility. The company is not contemplating either riverine or deep-sea disposal of mine waste rock and tailings.
“PanAust was committed to developing a world class operation of which the people of PNG would be proud, and would provide economic benefits while minimising environmental impacts.”
The Frieda River project is in the feasibility stage which is expected to be completed by the end of this year