Sepik MPs denying history and the lessons learned from pollution at the ‘World Class’ Ok Tedi, Panguna, Porgera and Tolukuma mines…
The National aka The Loggers Times | January 18, 2019
Three Sepik MPs are appealing to East and West Sepik leaders to stop misleading the local people on environmental pollution caused by the Frieda River project.
Yangoru-Saussia MP and National Planning Minister Richard Maru, Telefomin MP Solan Mirisim and Ambunti-Drekikir MP Johnson Wapunai supported development of the project.
They said developer, PanAust, had revised its design to include a 320km pipeline to transport slurry to Vanimo for export.
Maru said he did not support the project at first because the proposal was for copper slurry to go down the Sepik River by barge to sea.
“I did not want to compromise the Sepik River in any way because of the experiences we’ve learnt from the Ok Tedi mine,” he said.
“I am extremely happy that the new developer has changed the development plan for the Frieda mine.
“They will now build a 320km pipeline to take the slurry from Frieda all the way to Vanimo.
“In line with that development plan, our Government has now funded the feasibility study and design of the new Vanimo wharf at a cost of over K30 million.
“The work is going on now.
“We expect that the feasibility study and the design will be completed by around March, latest April.
“Our Government has been proactive in making sure we have a wharf which shall cater for the requirements of the gold mine, Bewani oil palm project and vast economic activities that we want to create in the special economic zone in Vanimo.
“This is for us to trade into Asia using Vanimo as the major export port.
“I would like to appeal to East Sepik and West Sepik leaders to stop misleading the people of West and East Sepik and create unnecessary fear among them.”
Maru urged leaders and the public to get behind local MPs Mirisim and Wapunai and support development of the project.
“We are thankful that the developer has already submitted mine development plan and the application for special mining licence (SML) to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA),” he said.
“We, as the leaders of East and West Sepik, will get behind this project, work with the NEC (National Executive Council) and the prime minister and not only deliver the Wafi-Golpu mine but the Frieda River mine also.”
The three MPs responded to recent awareness carried out by tertiary students on the environmental effects of the mine.
They said the environment would not be compromised in any way and the benefit streams were far better than what the Government and people have enjoyed in other mining projects.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be US$739 million (K2,443.50).