Investigation into Ramu mine Environmental Pollution underway

FM100/PNG Today | August 27, 2019 

Investigations are being carried out to determine the nature of the slurry and how best to mitigate what was already deposited in the sea by the Papua New Guinea Ramu Nickel mine, Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) Managing Director Jerry Garry says.

In the early hours of last week Saturday, there was an overflow from one of the slurry tanks (Aluminum iron removal tanks) during a maintenance work.

Mr. Garry told this news room, two slurry pumps failed which caused an overflow for almost 48 minutes.

The overflowed slurry flowed into a retention sump then into the ocean as the gate was unintentionally closed at that time.

Mr. Garry says MRA and Conservation and Protection Authority (CEPA) dispatched officers to site on Sunday to conduct a thorough investigation.

Mr. Garry says the Officers have been instructed by the MRA MD to condone the affected ocean front and prevent villagers from going near or fishing within the affected area.

He says the investigations will also establish any procedural failures on the part of the operator and necessary remedial measures will be imposed.

The Mining Minister Johnson Tuke and Mr. Garry are on their way to visit the site and do an independent assessment on the extent of the damage.

Meantime, landowners from the principle clans of the mine have requested for a proper investigation and approach to this issue because they claim many things have happened before but were either never reported or just covered up.

Chairman of the Basamuk Landowners Association Sande Suang says the incident resulted out of clear negligence by the company.

It has not been established as yet on what damages will result from this however the red coloring of the water had lessen to lighter reddish due to the sea current and stoppage of the spillage.

Mr Suang says the communities have in the past raised the issues through its Community Affairs department on the past incidents and nothing has been done.

He says the company simply goes for cheap compensation without assurance and logical strategy of the improvement.

It has also been established that from past records, no environmental NGOs have taken note and visited the area.

The Basamuk Landowners Association comprises of the principal clans in which the mine operates in the Kulilau Ward 28 of Saidor LLG, Raikos District, Madang Province.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

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