Benny Geteng | Post Courier | December 21, 2018
The Morobe Coastal Solwara Association has applauded the stand by Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu against dumping of mine tailings into the sea.
President Kamong Mazzewin said although Wafi-Golpu Mine Project brings exciting opportunities in benefits for the province and country, it must not be forgotten that someone has to pay the price.
“Governor Saonu’s statement made a huge difference for our children’s future. Five maritime districts of Morobe will pay the price of waste tailings effect,” he said.
Mr Mazeewin said he can’t remember whether there is a record of consultation by the developer MMJV among all the five districts in the province from Morobe south coast, Huon Salamaua, Huon Labu Wampar, Lae coastal villages, Nawaeb Labuta, Yabim, Finschhafen Urban and Tewae- Siassi.
“There has been one consultation meeting by developer held at Sipaia Wagang village and this does not represent all coastal villages in the five districts,” he said.
Mr Mazzewin, an engineer by profession, said the proposed method to be used in pumping the solid tailings into the sea may not the best option. He said while the solid tailings can easily settle, the finer tailing particles that might not be easily pumped down into the deep could easily float or resurface onto the upper body of water that are easily affected by the disturbing shifting currents around Huon Gulf.
“There has to be a way to dump waste tailing, maybe by building land tailing dam as suggested by Governor Saonu,” he said.
“I call on the Governor to make a time to immediately hold a forum to have an open and honest talk to the five coastal districts of Morobe as soon as possible.”
He said arrangements will be coordinated by the Morobe Coastal Solwara Association executives and the office of the Governor of Morobe.
“A further call is extended to all Morobe coastal elites around Morobe, PNG and overseas to garner support to the cause,” he said.
Governor Saonu has raised concerns about the environmental effects of the proposed dumping of Wafi-Golpu mine tailings into the Huon Gulf.
He supported coastal villagers of Morobe from the northern part who will be directly affected by the massive outflow of tailings from Wafi- Golpu Mining Project and said that WGJV must consider other alternatives from the current proposed idea.
WGJV maintains that the risks of tailings affecting the food chain for fish are extremely low and the conclusion is that Deep Sea Tailings Placement (DSTP) is not predicted to affect the coastal environment, productive surface waters, community health and fisheries.