Tag Archives: CEPA

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.

THE SAD THING HERE IS IT IS NOT EVEN TRUE – THEY WILL CONTINUE TO DO NOTHING!

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

REALLY? CEPA SHUT DOWN A MINE? IT IS A NICE HEADLINE, BUT REALITY IS CEPA WOULDN’T LIFT A FINGER TO SAVE THE LAST TREE IN THE FOREST OR THE LAST FISH IN THE OCEAN…

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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