Sinivit Landowners Call For Audit Into Mine Operations

Post Courier | March 19, 2019

The Sinivit Mine Landowners Association is calling on the East New Britain provincial government to fund an independent audit into the operations of the abandoned Sinivit gold mine.

The developer, New Guinea Gold Limited abandoned the project in September 2014 after blaming the government and the Mineral Resources Authority for not quickly renewing their mining licence.

It is understood MRA had notified the company to return and rectify safety and environmental issues related to the Sinivit project but this has not eventuated.

Chairman Douglas Augustine said a submission was given to the provincial government in August last year requesting an independent audit to be conducted on the mine.

He said before any mining project can be re-opened, an audit must be done to establish how much was generated by the mining operations in the past and who benefited from those funds.

Mr Augustine said currently there is an environmental issue where some of the 29 abandoned vats used to extract gold and other minerals at the mine site were further damaged by heavy rain and flooding, with potential chemical contamination into nearby rivers of Warangoi and Nengmutka.

“Right now most of those vats near the cliff have collapsed and I appeal to communities near the two rivers not to use it too much as it is not safe,” he said.

Therefore he urged the provincial government and its administration to fast track an investigation or audit, so that any such issues are addressed before the mining project can be re-opened.

The landowners say they are not against the planned re-opening of the mine, but want an audit and report to be tabled first before the mine can be re-opened.

The office of the ENB Governor in response said the Minister for Mining will officially visit the mine soon to determine the next course of action.

2 Comments

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

2 responses to “Sinivit Landowners Call For Audit Into Mine Operations

  1. Howard Peter

    Kulini Strickland Resource Holders Association POBOX 8390, BOROKO NCD DATE: 14th March,2019 Managing Director Conservation Environment Protection Authority POBOX 6601, BOROKO NCD Dear Sir SUBJECT: SEEKING YOUR URGENT APPROVAL OR MEDIATION FOR COMPENSATION FOR ENVIRONMENT DAMAGE UNDER SECTION 87 OF ENVIRONMENT ACT,2000. For and on behalf of the Kulini Strickland Resource Holders Association and its members I bring to your attention the subject matter above . The Association has given you several notices(maybe 6 times) already and we have met statutory requirements,in accordance with Section 87 which empowers you, The Director to direct the permit Holder, in this case – Barrick Nuigini Ltd to pay for environment damages.

    There is absolutely clear and amble evidence here that tje Managing Director for Environment Conservation Protection Authority rested with the power to determine pr give direction to thePermit Holder ( Barrick Gold PNG) Ltd to compensate the affected or impacted landowners or to simply begin arbitration. We claimed K60 million , but as you know it is subjected to arbitration.

    See the correspondences which we believe you have not attended to satisfactorily; 1: Letter from the Minister dated 12th November 210 2: Letter from the Minister dated 9th Septmber 2014 (Audit).

    3: Letter from the Minister for Mining dated 11th February 2014 4: Letter from the Acting MD MRA dated 11th February 2014 5: Letter from the office of minister Mining dated 31st December 2013 6 Letter from the Country Manager Dr. Illa Temo dated 19th November 2008 & 24 th September 2014 7: Legal Advice from the Department of Attorney General and State Solicitor dated 9th March 2009 8: The correspondencecorrespondence of send to the Acting Secretary, Gunther Joku dated 26th September 2013, a 7 page letter.

    So far after waiting patient for over 16 years and enduring all the hardships and inconvenience the affected communities faced, we are convinced beyond doubt that our claims is genuine. Secondly we have been push here and there when our issue should be frankly and humanely address by the concerned authority-Managing Director for CEPA who is also vested with the power of Director of Environment and Conservation.

    We have followed all the due processes,meet legal requirements as evidence before eyes therefore we are giving you the ultimate notice to respond favourably and make some decision that are fair to us,Barrick Gold(PNG) Ltd,the Government of PNG and the people of Porgera,Lagaip and Strickland Riverine basin. Sir, the official correspondence send to you have fallen on deaf years as you could not given a second thought to the plight of the people whose livelihood depends on their environment. The extend of the damages have been drastic yet,the government and especially the company have come up with so many excuses and delay tactics to frustrate the process or the people who are adversely affected.

    While other government agencies continue to support us to find solution or alternatives,you have continuously your minister continuously failed us due to ignorance or down play our sufferings as unrealistic and our claims are being false.

    The legal provision is clear and we understood the the situation or mandatory requirements and at the same time we know how much power is vested in you to make some decision to make fair to all parties involved.

    It is in our view that your continuous use of delay tactics and treating this issue as secondary makes us wonder whose interests you serve as the Managing Director for CEPA and the Director of Environment.

    Your ignorance and failures to address this issue in a timely and appropriate manner satisfactorily to all the parties primarily the Water Permit Holder,Barrick Gold (PNG) Ltd and landowners of the Riverine Communities affected adversely is a disgrace to the government.

    You are simply failing the state (Go PNG) and others including the silent major affected Riverine Communities which I represent. Therefore we now urge you to act upon this matter that in the interest of the state,the mine operator and the affected communities along the Lagaip Strickland and Dumbudu River Systems.

    The government and company enjoy the benefits of the operations,yet the silent and the innocent Riverine Communities suffer which is unjust. Barrick denied responsibility,but it had been paying sporadically even beyond SG3 and SG4 biannually. This showed guilt and acceptance of responsibility that it had polluted the river systems.

    Although the Ministers Determination of 1996 determines K0.025t per tonne of sediments and K0.062t per tonne for tailing for Zone 1 , Barrick had been paying less. Zone 2 and some part of Zone 3 area were paid under Hayley Robinson Genealogy Study which is incorrect because individual compensation agreements for Zone 3 were not signed, Barrick continuously paying Zone 3 river landowners but their compensation is pathetic. Our position is clear and straight forward- we have followed normal process as stated Under Environment Act 2000 Section 87 but you as the boss and Department seem to pursue another agenda. We have waited and suffered enough due to the delay as a result of Department ignorance or simply your inability to perform mandated commitment task, especially carrying out Environmental Audit and determine the issue which we pursued. To conclude, we have followed due process process stated Section 87 Environment Act 2000 but you and your department have miserably fail to apply Act2000 Section 87. The Environment Act is clear that person who is affected or has suffered damage as a result of the operation of the Permit Holder, the person who is entitlksed several time notice then we lodged our notice to you and your department to determine the issue of compensation within 90 days period but your department have exhausted till now.

    Therefore,due to time constraints and waiting patient 2004 to 2019 you as the Director of Environment can give directions or orders to Permit Holder in this case Barrick PJV to pay KSRHA compensation claim of K60million and secondly your department to incured the KSRHA expenses spent over the 16 years on Airfare tickets,Hire car,Accommodation and Administration cost.

    With Kind Regards We Remain.

    Your faithfully.

    Howard Peter.

    Secretary- Kulini Strickland Resource Holders Association.

    KSRHA represent people living along Strickland and Dumbudu River Area in the Hela Province. People living along Strickland and Dumbudu River Area were also affected as a result of Porgera Mine tailing discharge.

    We wrote several letters to Conservation Environment Protection Authority but the Minister and Department Boss refused our claim till now.

    Not only Porgera were affected but people living along Strickland and Dumbudu River Area were also affected. Porgera River connected to Lagaip River and tributary to Strickland and Dumbudu River.

    Porgera Mine Environmental Damage and Water Pollution issue became primary environmental issue which PNG government neglected to conduct Environmental Audit and determine the issue and pay compensation. Livelihood depends on Environment, WE TALK AND ACT ENVIRONMENT WAY.

    THANKS FOR READING MY COMMENT AND LOOKING FORWARD FOR YOUR ASSIST IN ANY WAYS HOW YOU ASSIST SOME OTHER IMPACTED COMMUNITIES IN NEGOTIATIONS PUTTING UP AGENDA.

    THANKS

    HOWARD PETER SECRETARY-KSRHA

    On 19 Mar 2019 17:09, “Papua New Guinea Mine Watch” wrote:

    > ramunickel posted: ” Post Courier | March 19, 2019 The Sinivit Mine > Landowners Association is calling on the East New Britain provincial > government to fund an independent audit into the operations of the > abandoned Sinivit gold mine. The developer, New Guinea Gold Limite” >

  2. Hosea Kaelam

    After attempts in addressing the above issue, we the legitimate customary landowners of the Uramat Clan would like to come out clear to address the above issue. Native traditional customary landowners are in great concern of movement of people and foreigners trespassing into the mine site looking for minerals. When approached by the landowners the respond is they are instructed by the ENB provincial government to do so. We would like to stress out to the provincial administration that Sinivit Landowners Association is not anymore represented by the customary landowners. The association is controlled by self interest people who are not landowners. The association is null and void because the indigenous customary landowners have registered their ILG to participate and have their benefits from the mine. We are appealing to state authorities not to listen to their claims. Relevant government agencies have been advised on this matter. The customary landowners of the Uramat Incorporated Land Group were already deprived from their birth rights from the abandoned mine. Authorities should be working with Umbrella Incorporated Land Group set out by the National Government which are registered, constituted and gazetted. Proper awareness, agreements and transparent consultations must be done with the native people to avoid common mine issues that are happening to other mines. These proper procedures will also unite the people together in seeing better development instead of dispersing them, causing divisions amongst the people and communities. Provincial authorities are very well aware that the Uramat ILG are the principal landowners of the Sinivit mine yet they are entertaining whom you know self-professed LOs. Currently the abandoned mine is a life at risk to our people and communities. What we are expecting from the state agencies is a report rectifying the chemical pollution but not the idea in re-opening the mine. We demand proper compensation for all the destructions and pollution caused. We are also waiting on reports and tests to clear us all out that our rivers and creeks are safe. Reports of the treatment pond for cyanide and other chemicals used at the mine contain 20 parts per million of chemicals while the vats contain 20 parts per million as well. This is very high risk concentration and the human beings and environments are at risk. The safe permitted environmental content is 5 part per million. This is a slap on the face for the authorities to neglect this problem as if there are no people living in those areas and as if there are no government for the people. We are asking the state agencies to work with the Uramat Incorporated Land Group to sort out this issue. All these should be done through a transparent MOA.

    Hosea Kaelam Junior Chairman Uramat ILG East New Britain Province. On 19 Mar 2019 02:08, “Papua New Guinea Mine Watch” wrote:

    ramunickel posted: ” Post Courier | March 19, 2019 The Sinivit Mine Landowners Association is calling on the East New Britain provincial government to fund an independent audit into the operations of the abandoned Sinivit gold mine. The developer, New Guinea Gold Limite”

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