Tag Archives: CEPA

Aust Contractor To Back Govt-Sanctioned Probe Into Ramu Mine Spill

Post Courier | December 9, 2019

A Government-sanctioned investigation into the Basamuk slurry spill incident in Madang will be undertaken as a highly integrated multi-disciplinary study approach.

Environment Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori said this before leaving PNG for the global climate change conference, the Conference of Parties (COP) 25 in Madrid, Spain yesterday.

He gave a briefing on the spill incident indicating government’s total and utmost commitment towards addressing the issue.

He said the study objective now is to obtain all necessary information and data for a well informed decision to be made regarding the spill based on conclusive scientific evidence as “science does not lie.”

Mori said an initial investigation done by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) indicated no pollution, but because of the widespread outcry and a contradicting report by an investigation done by a Dr Alex Mojon engaged by the Madang provincial government, the national government has now taken a further step to address the issue.

He said Cabinet has already approved for a comprehensive investigation, and BMT Eastern Australia Pty Ltd has been contracted to support the investigation as it is a leading international multi-disciplinary engineering, science and technology consultancy firm offering a broad range of services in the environment, energy, shipping, ports and defense sectors.

“The Water and Environment Group of BMT is recognised as one of Australia’s premier environmental consultants and they operate across the five continents in over 30 countries.

“We are getting them on board so that there is credibility in the investigation that will be conducted.

“It will be extensive, and with support from our CEPA technical officers, they have already conducted the first phase which is the reconnaissance trip or sampling plan trip.

“The second trip is sampling plan implementation or sampling, and this will be done after the New Year where all parties will be involved including representatives from the Madang provincial government so that samplings are done accurately and cannot be compromised,” Mr Mori said.

He said all parties including independent investigators, experts and a team from the Madang provincial government will also be part of the sampling.

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CEPA Says Madang Waters Are ‘Safe’ – but warns against eating fish!

Elias Nanau | Post Courier | October 18, 2019

The Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) has assured that the waters around the Basamuk area in Madang are safe and free of toxic contamination.

CEPA officials gave the assurance yesterday following tests and conclusion of water samples tested at the Australian Laboratory Services in Brisbane.

Michael Wau, director for Environment Regulatory operations, took the media through the findings yesterday. He said water samples were obtained from the villages of Naglau, Duman, Domestic Wharf and Drains 1 and 4 outlets.

Their average concentrations were below baseline concentrations and met environment permit conditions, Mr Wau said. He said out of the 200,000-litre slurry spill, 100,000 was contained within the refinery while 80,000 spilled into the Basamuk Bay. The slurry spill was said to have been caused by pump failure.

“Results of samples did not indicate major interference with sea water composition apart from turbidity caused by outfall material after heavy rains,” he said.

Environment and Conservation Minister Geoffrey Kama who joined the presentation endorsed the statements by his officers. “I think everything is back to normal,” he said.

“It’s not about the color, we want to detect the metals,” has said whilst cautioning the local people not to consume any fish caught in the area until further test were done to make the findings conclusive.

“We are not here to support the company, we are not here to tell lies,” Mr Kama said.
 He said CEPA would engage two independent scientists to sample toxic contamination from fish and this exercise would be completed within four weeks.

While the Madang Provincial Government-sponsored Swiss scientist Dr Alex Mojon and his report appear to contradict CEPA’s report, they told the media they were not able to critique or criticize the report without the benefit of reading it.


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Minister Delivers CEPA Report On Ramu Slurry Spill

A spill into the bay earlier this year turned the sea red. Photo: Facebook/ Elisha Wesley Mizeu

Miriam Zarriga | Post Courier |  October 18, 2019

Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) investigations have confirmed that 200,000 litres of raw slurry had actually over flowed from one of the company’s surge tanks within the Basamuk plant site.

Minister for Environment Geoffery Kama said this when presenting his ministerial statement on the Basamuk plant slurry spill incident.

“Sixty per cent was captured within the bund and emergency ponds, and drainage within the plant site, 40 per cent escaped via the drainage into the sea of the Basamku Bay, 80,000 litres of raw slurry that caused the discoloration of the sea water that continued for two days,” Mr Kama said.

“The discoloration cleared up and the sea water in the Bay was visibly clear on the third day.

“The results from the samples show that no major interference or impacts on the seawater composition at the bay and nearby marine areas.”

Mr Kama declared the area safe for swimming and recreational purposes.

However, precautionary measures must be taken, he said.

“The Basamuk Bay people must refrain from catching and eating fish from the Basamuk Bay now and for the next four and six weeks as CEPA is yet to establish if there is any residues of heavy metals contamination through food chain in the fish around the bay.”

Speaking on the independent study endorsed by the Madang provincial government, Mr Kama said that CEPA as the regulator has not been formally informed of such an independent study by the Madang provincial government.

“I want to see the provincial government and the national government working together and not working in isolation.”

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PNG Govt says, no damages to Marine Life despite slurry spill by Ramu Nickel Mine

 PNG Mining News | 11 October 2019

Papua New Guinea government has denied poisioning [sic] of marine life in Madang’s Basamuk area despite slurry spill by Ramu Nickel Mine. PNG’s Minister for Environment and Conservation Geoffrey Kama has finally revealed that the government investigation into the slurry spill by the Ramu Nickel Mine has found there was no major damage to the sea and surrounding environment.

Mr Kama told Parliament this morning, the CEPA report consists of samples sent to Brisbane Australia for testing.

After two weeks the results were sent back and further verified.

The environment Minister says their report, approved by NEC, now reveals there is no major pollution caused by the spill, and that the color change in sea water should not be a concern, it’s just a color change.

Obviously this did not go down well with several Members of Parliament who stood with point of orders demanding the Minister to explain why the CEPA report reveals no damage when there are evidence of fish dying in surrounding communities.

Member for South Fly,Seki Agisa, questioned on a recent finding released just this week by international scientists engaged by the Madang Provincial Government who found evidences of toxic contamination in samples of water, soil and plants.

The South Fly MP, asked if the government can cross check with this independent report.

But the Environment Minister refused to give clarity standing firm on the report produced by CEPA that there are no major damage caused by the slurry spill last month.

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Governor speaks on Frieda Mine Situation

I am not confident that CEPA has the capacity or the capability to properly and professionally review the EIS

Allan Bird | via Facebook | 26 September 2019

My position has been consistent from day one. While I appreciate the riches and the proposed business model for the mine, my bottom line is the safety of the Sepik River. If the safety of the river cannot be guaranteed, then we can’t mine until there is technology available that can do this safely.

The Sepik River is not just a supplier of fish, turtles, prawns, eels and crocodiles. It’s a spiritual icon for all of us. My people also came from the river. We can substitute the animals from the river with other proteins but the Sepik is one the of last unspoilt rivers in the world, perhaps the only last remaining unpolluted river. There is no substitute for the Sepik River.

Governments of the past have pursued economic growth at the expense of the environment. We can’t afford to do the same. We have to exercise great responsibility. We live in a world of climate change and massive environmental degradation. We would be stupid to go down the same road and knowingly destroy our environment in exchange for money.

Early this year, I gave a direction that the Special Advisory team that has been in touch with us be activated to work on the EIS to provide independent advice to the Provincial Government. I have waited patiently for the mining desk to do this through the office of the Administrator and I have been following up diligently. Unfortunately, this has not eventuated.

Yesterday I discovered that our mining desk may have compromised their position by certain actions they have taken without informing the PA. The independence of the mining desk has now been brought into question. This won’t do.

This agenda is critical but it seems certain public servants do not appear to place the same level of urgency or exercise wisdom and good judgement on matters that are of serious public importance.

Given the lack of response to our queries from CEPA I am not confident that CEPA has the capacity or the capability to properly and professionally review the EIS. The responsibility for the safety of the Sepik River rests with the ESPG and the Sepik people. It is our responsibility and we take that responsibility very seriously.

Effectively immediately, I have requested the PA to convene our advisory team and there will be a lock up to fully review the EIS. At the end of this process we will give a response to all parties based on our assessment of the EIS. I will be personally taking charge of the team.

It is our wish to portray to all investors, particularly those who are coming for Agriculture and other businesses that ESPG is not anti- business. That we are intelligent and we will discharge all our responsibilities in a manner which is professional and fair and that all businesses will be subject to the same rigorous process when the safety of the environment and the livelihoods of ordinary people might be at risk.

On behalf of the ESPG, can I ask all our people to remain calm during this period. For Frieda Mine to proceed, two approvals are critical, the approval of the WSP Assembly and the ESP Assembly.

I assure all our people the approval from our Assembly will not be done hastily but with prudence and wisdom. We have not reached a stage where we have sufficient evidence to give our approval and that is where the matter remains.

Our silence does not signify approval. It signifies that we understand that we have a responsibility to demonstrate professionalism in the conduct of our work. Since we do not fully understand the EIS, we would be irresponsible to comment on it and make a case one way or the other.

Yupla trustim mi na yupla givim mi displa wok.

Mi askim yupla long belisi na noken wokim stupid blo yumi. Yupla wanbel na larim mipla kisim ol experts long mekim displa wok. Nogat wanpla longlong man, aipas man o yaupas man holim ol displa wok.

Trustim mipla long mekim displa wok. Em tasol mi askim yupla olgeta.


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Dead fish prompt new calls to shut down Ramu mine

Mysterious Fish Deaths in PNG’s Madang Province

NBC News / PNG Today | 18 September 2019

Locals in Warai Village of Raicoast District in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea have raised concerns about tuna fish dying mysteriously in the area.

Fisherman Thomas Warr told NBC News from Madang, the villagers started noticing fish dying and floating ashore, on Tuesday 17th September.

He said villagers are confused as to what would be the cause of this, but they have refrained from fishing, following this occurrence.

Mr. Warr said reports have emerged of fish dying as well in Karkar and Bagbag Islands – something which he says needs to be confirmed as well.

A team led by Madang Provincial Administrator Joseph Kunda Bonomane with representatives from the National Fisheries Authorities, National Disaster office and Health among others are now traveling to the site to collect fish samples, for testing.

Meantime, people in the Raicoast District of Madang Province are questioning what has become of the report on the ‘200-000 litres toxic slurry’ spillage which occurred in August, from the Ramu Nickel Mine’s Basamuk processing plant.

The Chinese company which has invested over six billion kina in the project, came out recently revealing the magnitude of the spill following outrage by locals after the colour of the sea in the area turned red, brown and orange.

The spill material – reportedly ‘very toxic’ was a result of a pump failure caused by an electronic fault which led to an overflow.

A few weeks later now, with fish turning up dead on the shores in the same area – the locals want answers.

Mr. Thomas Warr said it’s hard to understand when you have big mining operations like this and yet no testing facilities for instances such as this.

He said now, everyone has to wait for samples to be sent overseas for testing and the people are kept in suspense – in most cases there is no feedback at all.

NBC News understands, residue from the spillage were sent to Australia for testing, and results are expected this month.

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PNG to discipline mining companies in breach of mining laws

A government willing to enforce its own laws against resource extraction companies should not be headline news – it should be happening every day.


PNG Today | September 03, 2019

Papua New Guinea Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Geoffrey Kama has informed stakeholders that his Ministry and the Department of Environment and Climate Change will strictly follow the existing laws to discipline any mining companies in breach of any laws governing the mining industry and there are no short cuts in shutting down the mines.

Kama said this when meeting with the Basamuk landowners on Sunday last week at Basamuk Refinery in the Rai Coast District of Madang province.

He went to have an independent assessment on the Refinery’s’ Saturday 24 August slurry spill into the Basamuk harbor. His senior officers including Managing Director of CEPA, Gunther Joku and deputy managing director, Michael Maue including Madang Governor Peter Yama accompanied him to Basamuk.

Ramu NiCo President Gao Yongxue and his vice president Wang Baowen received the minister and his delegation in Madang and accompanied them to Basamuk.

This is the second visit of a senior state minister after Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke who visited Basamuk Refinery for an independent assessment on Tuesday 27 August in his capacity as the Mining Minister.

The Environment Ministers visit follows after his chief investigators from CEPA, Lave Michael, Joseph Umare and Robert Sine, Manager Mining with MRA were on the ground at Basamuk on Monday Aug 26 to conduct an investigation into the slurry spill.

Kama told the principal Basamuk landowners that Marape-Stevens government will not go ahead and shut down Ramu NiCo Project or Basamuk Refinery as demanded but will strictly follow the laws so that all parties are given fair treatment.

The minister’s call came after the landowners demanded that Basamuk Refinery be closed following the slurry discharge and other outstanding matters including socio-economic benefits.

Last week, Member for Rai Coast, Peter Sapia, Madang Governor Peter Yama and the landowners demanded for the closure of Ramu NiCo Project.

But Kama said investigation into the alleged slurry spill is still underway by the Mines Inspector and Mines Inspectorate alone has the power to shut down the mine and not him.

Meanwhile, Als Environment Testing Laboratory in Brisbane, Australia will analyse the sea water samples collected from Basamuk Refinery to determine the concentration of heavy metal level in the sea area where the slurry entered after slurry overflow on Saturday 24 August at the refinery.

Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd designated ALS Ltd, an internationally recognised laboratory specialising in environmental analysis services to analyse the samples to give credibility to the final report that will be produced by MRA and CEPA.

Vice president of Ramu NiCo, Wang Baowen said the Australian based company was selected after full consideration was given to accredited laboratories in PNG and abroad.

He said after uncertainties and speculations have been created by various groups, Ramu NiCo wants to put these concerns to rest by results ALS Ltd will provide.

“We understand the concerns of our landowners and the government.

We know many people want to engage their own consultants. The best we can do is engage an independent and credible third party like ALS so we all accept their analysis,” Mr Bao said.

“The inspectors from CEPA and MRA who investigated the incident will separately receive the results and make their own recommendations, off which we will accept and implement as required.”

He said ASL Ltd has branches throughout Australia and its head office in Brisbane where the heavy metal testing will be done and results anticipated for return approximately within two weeks from Friday last week.

“Under CEPA direction, we have collected seawater samples from five different locations, the primary one being the slurry discharging point within the harbor.

Samples collected vary in depth from the surface, including five meters below the surface to enable cross section of sampling to determine concentration of potential heavy metal at different layers of the harbour,” Mr Bao said.

“CEPA and Ramu NiCo will receive the test result directly, although separately from the Brisbane analysis laboratory.

“CEPA and MRA will interpret the analysing result and determine whether there are significant impact on the harbour and surrounds.

Ramu NiCo will also use the result from third party, ASL and Basamuk Central Chemical Laboratory to analyse and report to CEPA and concerned government bodies.’’

He said Ramu NiCo is committed to get to the bottom of the investigation by engaging third parties and the notable laboratory in Australia.

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Papua New Guinea may close Chinese-owned nickel plant after spill – regulator


Melanie Burton | Reuters via CNBC | 29 August 2019

A nickel processing plant owned by Metallurgical Corp of China (MCC) that spilled mine waste into Papua New Guinea’s Basamuk Bay faces compensation claims and possibly closure, the head of the country’s mining authority said on Thursday.

MCC’s Ramu nickel plant located in Madang, on the country’s northeastern coast, spilled waste into the bay over the weekend which caused the surrounding ocean to turn red and left a muddy residue on the rocky shoreline, according to locals and photographs of the incident.

The spillage occurred when a plant operator did not notice a pump failure during a maintenance shutdown, causing a tank to overflow and mining waste to disperse into the ocean, Jerry Garry, managing director of PNG’s Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) said.

“From an environmental point of view, obviously the slurry discharge… has already caused damage to the ocean and the livelihood of the people because they will not be swimming and they will not be fishing in the area any more,” he said.

“There will be summons to pay compensation. There will be other punishment imposed by CEPA. Im really not too sure as to what the nature of the penalties may be,” he told Reuters.

CEPA is PNG’s Conservation and Environment Protection Authority.

The MRA’s inspector found no immediate safety concerns and no reason to shut down the mine. However, residue samples of the spill have been sent to Australia for testing and results are expected in under a month, said Garry. The environment minister has the authority to shut the mine, he added.

MCC’s Basamuk Bay plant produces nickel sulphate for the battery industry from ore sent by pipeline from the Kurumkukari nickel and cobalt mine about 135 km (81 miles) away.

Environment Minster Geoffrey Kama said in a report on Thursday by local newspaper The National that he would go to the site of the plant this Monday.

“If I see the situation is devastated I will close the mine,” he said, according to the report.

“We need to see the report first and then make a decision,” Kama said, according to the newspaper.

Reuters could not immediately reach the CEPA or Kama for a comment. MCC did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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Landowners Urged Not To Disturb Basamuk Refinery

Post Courier | August 29, 2019

Mining Minister Johnson Tuke yesterday urged landowners from the areas around Basamuk Refinery in Madang’s Rai Coast district not to disturb the operation of the facility while an investigation into a slurry over ow into the sea last weekend is underway.

Mr Tuke visited the refinery accompanied by Madang Governor Peter Yama and managing director of MRA, Mr Jerry Garry to inspect the slurry over ow that occurred in the early hours of Saturday August 24.

Vice president of Ramu NiCo, Mr Wang Baowen, received them in the presence of registered refinery manager Bill Hill and other company senior officers. “While the investigation on the slurry over ow is going on, I ask all of you to stay away from the slurry outflow point into the sea.

“And do not disturb the operation of the refinery.

“As the government, we are aware of your concerns and we will try our best to ensure a full investigation is completed and presented.

It will take some time but we will ensure the root cause is identified and rectified,” Mr Tuke said.

More than 70 landowners and nearby villagers gathered at the Basamuk Refinery old camp and petitioned the minister.

They asked for permanent environment officers to be stationed at Basamuk.

This is to monitor any environmental issues and compensate them for the inconvenience caused by the Saturday August 24 slurry over ow.

On Tuesday August 27 more than 50 landowners from nearby villages to Basamuk Refinery including Mindre, Bobidik, Jangag, Duman, Sulu, Ganglau and Tugiak expressed concerns on the same issue and urged MRA and CEPA to thoroughly investigate and establish the toxicity of the slurry in a transparent manner.

Chief inspector from MRA, Lave Michael, and inspector Joseph Umare, including mining manager from CEPA, Robert Sine, were present to hear the landowners’ grievances.

The mentioned government officers arrived at Basamuk on Monday August 26 to carry out investigations on the alleged spill to establish the cause.

A vocal leader from Mindre village and an associate to NGO’s in Madang, Terry Kuning challenged the government and Ramu NiCo to establish the main cause of the slurry overspill transparently and to avoid similar situations in the future.

“The environment damage has been done and we ask the company and the government to compensate us. This must be done soon,” Mr Kunning said.

Other landowners and women representatives present expressed concern on the slurry spill and urged the company to avoid a similar situation in the future that will cause unnecessary inconveniences.

CEPA mine manager Robert Sine thanked the landowners for their patience and understanding despite the slurry spill.

He assured them that proper and careful investigation is currently underway and strict measures and guidelines will be imposed after the findings.

“We don’t take bribes or favours.

We go by the books and carry out our work in line with laws.

We will make sure investigations are done properly and will inform you through Ramu NiCo,” Mr Sine said.

Chief Inspector from MRA, Lave Michael informed the landowners that he will complete the investigation and any measures taken will depend on the outcome of the investigation.

Inspector Lave emphasised that his responsibility is highlighted under the Mining Act where he complies accordingly and will not attend to other matters raised by the landowners.

“I am guided by the Mining Act and my job is in line with requirements thereafter.

I have disciplined several mines including Ramu NiCo when in breach of safety issues and I will continue to do if any mine including Ramu NiCo is found in breach of their safety laws,” Mr Michael said.

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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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