Tag Archives: DSTP

Concern over Wafi-Golpu marine waste dumping

Landowners protest against marine waste dumping plans for the Ramu mine in 2010

Concern over proposed deep sea tailings outfall

The National aka The Loggers Times | February 12, 2020

MINISTER for Fisheries and Marine Resources Dr Lino Tom is unsure about the proposed deep sea tailing pipeline outfall (DSTPO) from the Wafi-Golpu project likely to go out at Wagang, few kilometres east from Lae city.

Wagang, in the Ahi local level government, is at the centre of the proposed construction of new fishery wharf project undertaken by the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and the Wafi-Golpu project DSTPO.

Tom earlier said much of the revenue from fishery sector was generated from tuna. But he was uncertain about the DSTPO.

NFA managing director John Kasu said discussions were still underway.

“The NFA is aware of the proposed DSTPO and discussions are underway to find a common understanding” Kasu said.

Kasu, however, did not explain which Government agencies and private entities were trying to find a common ground for mitigation, should any consequences arise from the impact of the DSTPO if constructed.

Last Aug 20, Tom signed a memorandum of understanding with Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu to ensure that the NFA completed its geo-tech feasibility and land investigations to allow the start of the project construction.

Saonu wants to see the construction of the Wagang fisheries wharf start less than three years from now.

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Madang Govt Sues Ramu Nico For K18b

Post Courier | February 6, 2020

The Madang provincial government and 13 landowners have sued Chinese company Ramu Nico for damages worth K18 billion and K1.6 million as special damages to be settled 30 days from today.

Lawyer representing the provincial government Ben Lomai said yesterday that based on the final report carried out by international scientists engaged by the government, the case has been granted and a writ of summons will be served on Ramu Nico today.

There are about 13 plaintiffs who have signed on behalf of 7968 officers taking the company to court including the provincial government. This included Wadan Namui on behalf of 52 named persons from Astrolabe and Rai Coast, Kaimalang Moses for himself and on behalf of 425 named persons from Rai Coast, Peter Sel on behalf of himself and 122 named persons from Rai Coast, Barthly Andrew for himself and on behalf of 230 named persons from Rai Coast, Micha Wasa Kosi on behalf of 348 per- sons from Rai Coast, Asru Masil on behalf of 82 people of Rai Coast, Willie Mathew on behalf of 71 persons, Sauma Hangi on behalf of 77 people, John Simoi on behalf of 389 persons of Sumkar, Michael Barui on behalf of 1398 people of Sumkar, Henry Amath on behalf of 1233 people of Sumkar, Steven Aren on behalf of 510 people of Sumkar and Kautil Mamari on behalf of 373 people of Sumkar.

The plaintiffs and the people they represent are asking the court to make:

a) A declaration that the Defendant committed public nuisance;

b) A declaration that the Defendant committed private nuisance;

c) A declaration that the Defendant is strictly liable for its conduct by continuously dumping of the tailings and other mine waste into Basamuk and Astralobe Bay: and

d) A declaration that the Defendant committed negligence

Mr Lomai said that they will be asking the court to make a declaration that the continuous activity by the Defendant, particularly the dumping of tailings and waste into Astrolabe and Basamuk bays by the use of a chemical, DSTP which was in breach of the Environmental Act 2000 and was therefore unlawful.

The court will also be asked to order the current DSTP located offshore from Basamuk Refinery be relocated back inland to a designated area within the SML, subject to proper environmental, engineering and design and construction recommendations. Other orders sought are:

  • An order that the permanent injunction restraining the Defendant by itself, its servants or agents or otherwise, from committing the said nuisance and negligence and to injure the Plaintiffs and the people they represent in their use and enjoyment of their customary land and water rights that a permanent injunction restraining the Defendant from destroying the offshore environment in any way and from dumping waste and tailings into Astrolabe and Basamuk Bays in accordance with the Ramu Nickel Environmental Plan 1999 Approval or at all;
  • A declaration that the Plaintiffs’ rights to the use and enjoyment of their customary land and water rights and the rights of the people they represent, have been breached and that they have suffered as a direct consequence of the Defendant’s dumping of tailings and toxic waste activity by the use of DSTP, the Refinery dusts and fumes as well as the slurry spillage;
  • An order that the Defendant compensate and or pay damages to the Plaintiffs and the people they represent in the sum of K18 billion and alternatively, such compensatory damages referred to paragraph 690) be assessed;
  • An order that the Defendant and the Madang province government in consultation with CEPA and MRA, within 30 days from the date of this, order, take remedial steps to clean the environment that had been contaminated by the activity of the Defendant and that such remediation costs, to be properly assessed by remedial experts, shall be paid by the Defendant; and
  • An order that the Defendant pay the Madang provincial government K1.6 million as special damages forthwith.

MCC yesterday was contacted but they advised Post-Courier that they have not been served the court injunction but are prepared to counter the case.

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Madang governor hits out at PNG govt over Ramu mine water contamination

Radio New Zealand | 18 November 2019 

The governor of Papua New Guinea’s Madang province has hit out at the government over the impact of mine waste in Basamuk Bay.

Peter Yama said the Environment and Conservation Minister Wera Mori was out of line in challenging results from recent testing of water samples off Madang’s coast.

The tests by a team led by Swiss scientist Alex Mojon linked dead marine life to waste from the Ramu nickel mine.

The team was hired by Madang’s provincial government.

Mr Mori has questioned the methodology of Dr Mojon’s team and suggested the mine owner, RamuNico, may not be to blame.

However, Mr Yama said the minister was trying to deflect.

“So, we have two different doctors and two different teams to come up with two different laboratory tests. So, we know that what we are talking about is right, and we do not try to confuse anybody for this matter. But yet, you know how the politicians are…

“They are passing the buck to MRA (Mineral Resources Authority), and MRA is they are passing the buck to CEPA (Conservation and Environment Protection Authority).”

Along with CEPA officials, Mr Mori, who was appointed last week, said dead marine life was being seen dozens of kilometres away in other parts of the Madang region and therefore may not have been caused by the Ramu mine.

But the governor said the mine’s toxic effects had been building up for years, causing an environmental issue that must be addressed for the sake of Madang communities.

He confirmed people in his province were still unable to access food and livelihoods since fishing in the Basamuk Bay area was banned due to recent deaths and illnesses linked to a slurry spill from the mine operations.

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Chinese owned Mining Company in PNG faces Two Possible Lawsuits

NBC News / PNG Today | November 05, 2019

The Chinese operated  Ramu Nickel Mine in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea  will be facing two possible lawsuits.

Madang Governor Peter Yama says one will be taken up by close to one thousand landowners from the impacted communities of Raicoast District – who had taken the Company to Court in 2011 over fears of pollution from the ‘Deep Sea tailings Placement’ (DSTP) as a result of the mine’s operations.

The Court at the time had ruled in favour of the Company saying there was ‘no evidence that the DSTP’ would cause damage to the marine environment and so the project was given the ‘green light’ to commence operations.

Mr. Yama says the Company at the time was also ordered by the Court to provide quarterly reports of their operations to the Provincial Government and landowners but have failed to do so, since then – breaching Court orders.

He says with the evidence now, this case will be taken up again, adding the second case will be taken up by the Provincial Government for environmental damage.

Meantime, the absence of legislation on the usage of ‘Deep sea mine tailings’ (DSTP) in the country is raising serious concerns amongst affected communities.

Villagers in the communities of Raicoast district, Madang Province currently affected by the Ramu Nickel Mine’s Basamuk spill say the National Government has been ignorant of this very important policy that would have stopped or mitigated the effects of the DSTP employed by the Company.

The Company which uses the DSTP to dispose of its mine wastes into the sea has reportedly been releasing 1700 litres of toxic waste into the ocean per hour, amounting to 14.2 million litres annually for fifteen years now.

A recent 200-000 litres of toxic spill from the mine is alleged to have poisoned fish, prompting a ban in the Province.

Local, Thomas Warr says, it’s negligence on the Government’s part, to allow the Company to operate using the DSTP for its waste disposal when there’s no law to guide how they carry that out.

“If they cannot remove the DSTP –then stop the mine.

“It’s very late for the Government to come now and tell us there is no law to guide this DSTP – they must now look at coming up with a law on DSTP, Mr. Warr said.

Department of Justice and Attorney General Dr. Eric Kwa at the recently concluded ‘Ocean Policy forum’ says the PNG National Oceans Policy to be presented to the National Executive Council by the end of this year and expected to come into effect by 2020 will address some of this current issues including Ocean pollution among others.

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Chinese-owned Ramu nickel plant in PNG shut down after toxic slurry spill

PHOTO: The spill on August 24 turned the water in Basamuk Bay bright red and stained the shoreline. (Supplied: Nigel Uyam)

Key points:

  • The plant will remain closed until the Chinese operator fixes several issues
  • It spilled around 80,000 litres of slurry, turning the bay bright red
  • Tests on the environmental damage have given mixed results

Bethanie Harriman | Pacific Beat | ABC News |25 October 2019

Papua New Guinean authorities have shut down a Chinese-owned nickel processing plant for breaching safety and mining laws, after the operator spilled tens of thousands of litres of toxic slurry into a bay in August.

PNG’s Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) chose to take punitive action against the Ramu Nico plant, which is majority owned by the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC), after it failed to fix problems the authority identified while investigating the spill.

These included incompetency among operators at the plant in PNG’s Madang province, problems with the spillage containment system, and inadequate equipment maintenance.

The authority said the processing facility would not be permitted to reopen until these issues were fixed — effectively halting all of Ramu Nico’s mining operations for the time being.

“They were given sixteen recommendations to rectify, and apparently six weeks down the line, we found that the operator has failed,” MRA managing director Jerry Garry said.

PHOTO: Two reports into the environmental impact of the spill have turned up conflicting results. (Supplied: Nigel Uyam)

On August 24, a pump failure at the mine’s Basamuk Bay processing plant saw about 200,000 litres of toxic slurry spill out, with up to 80,000 litres making its way into the ocean — turning the water bright red, and staining the nearby shoreline.

While local officials have banned the sale of fish caught in the province following the spill, investigations into the resulting environmental damage have turned back markedly different results.

One scientific report commissioned by the provincial government said there was evidence of widespread contamination, however PNG’s environmental authority has said it found heavy metal contamination was within acceptable levels.

‘They didn’t think of our lives’

A spokesman for the nickel mine’s Chinese operator confirmed the shutdown order, and said the company was considering its legal options, Reuters reported.

Ramu Nico has previously apologised for the slurry spill, but has denied it caused any serious environmental damage.

PHOTO: The Ramu Nico mining operation has been subject to several controversies over the years. (Facebook: Kessy Sawang, file)

While local villagers were happy to hear of the Ramu Nico closure, they told the ABC’s Pacific Beat program they didn’t think it went far enough, and called on the PNG Government to slap heavy penalties on the company.

Louis Medaing, whose village is near the nickel processing plant, said the facility should have been closed straight after the spill, which some in the community have linked to health problems and fish kills.

“They didn’t think of our lives, the Government has now realised and ordered the mine to be closed,” he said.

“That refinery must not open until everything is sorted out, everything is settled.”

The temporary closure is the latest in a string of controversies for the $2 billion Ramu Nico mining operation, which was China’s first major resource project in Papua New Guinea when it opened in 2012.

Landowners had fought a legal battle to prevent the mine from disposing of its tailings in the ocean via a deep-sea pipeline, however this failed in the courts in 2010.

Plaintiffs in the case chose to fire their lawyer and abandon proceedings, a decision National Court Justice David Cannings said was “to a degree, suspicious”.

He said “reasonable people” would question whether the plaintiffs had been intimidated, threatened or paid off.

There have also been fights between local staff and Chinese workers in the past, as well as attacks on the facilities, earlier slurry leaks, and one fatal workplace accident in 2016 that saw the mine temporarily closed.

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MPs Query Basamuk Spillage

Simon Keslep | Post Courier | October 15, 2019

The Basamuk slurry spillage was again raised in Parliament last week Friday by three Members of Parliament.

Tewai-Siassi MP Dr Kobie Bomareo asked if marine life is affected and the wider effects alleged to have reached as far afield as Bogia and even parts of his district in Morobe province who share the sea border with Rai Coast (Madang).

“There are reports that marine life is affected in the sea and I have heard that this is spreading to Bogia too.

“Can the Minister (Environment and Climate Change) inform us in this House (Parliament) and the people of Madang and Morobe on the latest approach his ministry is doing to address this matter?” asked Dr Bomareo.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Geoffrey Kama in his response said whatever marine destruction that happened in Dr Bomareo’s district is outside of Basamuk. The minister said the spillage at Basamuk which included the raw material from Kurumbukari caused by tank blockage that overflowed about 200,000 litres of raw material.

“Sixty per cent of the spillage went into the tank and 40 per cent flowed into the sea.

“The colour of the sea is something new to the people which they have not seen in their life. At that time we sent out officers to collect samples and send it down to Brisbane, Australia for testing,” said the Minister.

Mr. Kama said it took 15 days for the results to come back and now they have asked a local expert to check and interpret the results.

“We will get the interpretation and inform the people.

“I want to make it clear to this parliament, the people of Basamuk and wider Madang that test shows there is no major destruction occurring but rather change of sea colour. Next week in Parliament, I will read out the result to everyone,” said Mr Kama.

“There are evidences of fish, dogs and animals dying. The minister must explain well on this,” queries Wewak MP Kevin Isufu.

Minister reverts saying it is important to establish facts given there are investors in Madang and everyone (MPs) must abide by law.

“However Ijivitari MP Richard Masere said the minister has the responsibility to the people and if we are unsure then it shows a lot of gaps that we are unaware of. “There needs to be a formal statement on this issue.

If there is already threats to our people then what actions will the minister take to ensure we put a stop or temporary suspension on the mine.

“Until a formal investigation is taking place and we understand fully the implications of these spill will cause… These spill will have detrimental effects into the future, our children may be born with defects’,” said Mr Masere.

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Chinese Owned Ramu NICO brushes aside Basamuk report

NBC News / PNG Today | 12 October, 2019

The Chinese owned Ramu Nickel company who is developing the Ramu Nickel Project in Madang has brushed aside the scientific findings of the Switzerland scientist who was engaged by the Madang Provincial Government to carry out an investigation into the Basamuk Spillage.

Swiss-based scientist, Dr Alex Mojon, whom the Ramu Nickel Company described as a self- proclaimed scientist, revealed his findings on Wednesday this week in Port Moresby.

The company said Dr Mojon’s investigation was not authorized by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) – the regulated government body to conduct such investigations.

Dr. Mojon was engaged by the Madang Government following recent reports of dead fish being discovered in Madang waters and people developing complications after allegedly eating contaminated fish and swimming in the sea.

Findings by Dr Mojon revealed that Basamuk has suffered extensive pollution over the years, as a result of Ramu Nickel Mine carelessly dumping its wastes into the Basamuk Bay over the years.

However, Ramu Nickel says it will only accept the officially sanctioned report from the CEPA investigation.

The company also says it doubts whether the scientific report and Madang Provincial Government’s engagement are independent in nature.

A statement from the company states that the Swiss Report may be independent for the Madang Government but not for Ramu Nickel and they will out rightly ignore the findings.

Ramu NiCo is also asking CEPA and other government authorities to confirm if the Swiss scientist was authorised to collect samples and produce – what it says is a ‘damaging report’ towards a genuine foreign investor.

The Company also said it was not consulted by the Swiss scientist before visiting Basamuk to collect samples of dead fish, water, sand and pebbles for testing.

Meantime, Minister for Environment and Conservation Geoffrey Kama told NBC News, the report into the ‘Basamuk spillage’ by CEPA will be presented in Parliament next week.

Mr. Kama says the National Executive Council has already approved the report.

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