Cyanide spill a risk in East New Britain

sinivit

Elizabeth Vuvu | The National aka The Loggers Times

CONTAINERS holding two tonnes of cyanide have been forced open, with spills making their way into the main waterways in the closed Sinivit Gold Mine in East New Britain.

Another container filled with explosives and other detonating devices was ransacked recently and all its contents stolen.

Acting provincial administrator and disaster committee chairman Akuila Tubal said:

“The risk of further environmental damage and pollution from Sinivit has escalated to new levels when a group of people removed what was left of the cyanide-filled vats.”

“In addition, cyanide and other dangerous chemicals had continued to drain into the soil. Canvas covering all 17 vats there have been removed and stronger layers holding the ore in each vat have been ripped open, posing greater risks for people and environment. People downstream are exposed to these dangerous chemicals.”

The main administration block at the site was allegedly burnt down by a group of people last month.

Reports said the people were helping themselves to material from the residential camp areas and the processing plant.

Tubal said a task force team last weekend inspected the damage and the administration was awaiting its recommendations.

“Our aim is to protect our people’s lives and counter the risks stemming from the cyanide and other dangerous chemicals flowing downstream.

“We do not want to see further damage and vandalism by a few disgruntled people,” he said.

“We are at greater risk here because of the approaching rainy season and flooding, especially our people downstream.”

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Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

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