PNG a global hot spot for toxic tailings dumping



In some parts of the world, mining companies directly dump this mine waste into rivers, lakes and oceans. In fact, mining companies are dumping more than 180 million tonnes of hazardous mine waste each year into the world’s waterways, threatening vital bodies of water with toxic heavy metals and other chemicals poisonous to humans and wildlife.

This Tailings Infographic [pdf file] shows the extent of the problem.



Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea

2 responses to “PNG a global hot spot for toxic tailings dumping

  1. Pingback: PNG a global hot spot for toxic tailings dumping — Papua New Guinea Mine Watch – Survmarine

  2. Whilst we congratulate Earthworks who have exposed the “7 Hot Spots for Tailings Dumpings”, we still wonder why the practice of dumping posionous tailings exists and why mining companies are persisting with this harmful, dangerous and unhealthy method.
    The Rio Tinto owned Panguna copper mine on Bougainville was forcibly closed by the people of Bougainville in 1988 and to this day the Panguna mine remains closed.
    But, pollution from Panguna mine tailings has since been flowing into the environment and Dr Gavin Mudd, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering at Monash University says it’s a continuing problem.
    “There’s a lot of acid mine drainage that is leaving the site, there is also tailings going down the river. And the acid mine drainage of course has extremely high levels of metals,” Dr Mudd told Radio Australia Pacific Beat program on 4 September 2013.
    Heavy metals can accumulate in fish and vegetation and affect human health.
    Inside the mine site itself, many buildings contain asbestos and some abandoned measuring instruments contain radio active material.”
    Experts predict remediation of the old Panguna mine site will be a large-scale, and very expensive, exercise.
    “I’d imagine you would be looking at hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions. It is really hard to know exactly,” Dr Mudd said.
    “It depends on the logistics involved and there is a whole bunch of complex factors involved in that so the simple message is it is not going to be cheap. Whichever level of remediation is done at Bougainville, it is certainly going to be a very costly exercise,” Dr Mudd said.

    Bougainville Copper Limited is legally responsible for the clean-up.

    See full article at

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