Tag Archives: Human rights

Yama – Fight Will Continue Until Ramu Mine Ops Cease

Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier | October 22, 2019

Madang Governor Peter Yama assured the people of Rai Coast that the fight on the pollution caused by slurry spill from the Ramu NiCo’s Basamuk refinery would continue until the mine was successfully closed.

He travelled to Bindeng in Saidor, Rai Coast district, to officially close the week-long Kangal Festival last week.
The people of Bindeng called on the governor to pressure the national government to shut down the Ramu NiCo mine.

Spokesman Daniel Kala said it had almost been a month and the people had not heard from the national government on it actions to protect the people and the environment.

He said the ban imposed by the Madang provincial administration on the selling of fish in the province had affected their school children as well as their daily income opportunities.

Mr Yama said because of the urgency of the issue he had to rush from last Thursday’s Parliament session to be with the people and to brief them on the actions he had taken to pressure the government to take measures.

“I flew back to Madang and addressed my people on the stand the government would be taking on the Basamuk slurry spill incident. I assured my people at the Kangal Festival at Bindeng that I will continue to fight and make sure the mine closes,” he said.

He also urged his people to work together if they wanted to see change in their area. The slurry spill incident has caused fear among the people, especially when they go out to the sea, he said.

He said also that for too long the people and provincial government had not benefited from the mine and had become mere spectators on their own land.

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Porgera Mine – A World Class Disaster

The Porgera gold mine has made people slaves on their own land, forced to scrape in the polluted mine tailings to try and earn the money to buy food and basic essentials. The owners of Barrick Gold and Zijin Mining should hang their heads in shame…

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PM Gives Assurance Of Further Ramu Mine Probe

Post Courier | October 18, 2019

Prime Minister James Marape says investigations into Ramu Nickel Mine slurry spill at Basamuk Bay in Madang will continue.

He said this after a lengthy and heated debate in Parliament yesterday after a report on the August 24, 2019, incident was presented by Environment and Conservation and Climate Change Minister Geoffrey Kama.

“I note most Members of Parliament have a conversation to make in regards to this ministerial statement presented,” Mr Marape said.

“As indicated by the minister, there’ll be further assessment and investigation.

“Every stakeholder, including the Governor for Madang (Peter Yama), has every right to have an interest in this matter.

“When matters relate to the security of our people, the interest of our people, and matters relating to the environment, it is just and responsible that we all have a concern.

“We note the concern that was raised by every Member of Parliament, especially the Governor for Madang and Member for Rai Coast (Peter Sapia) in the immediate precinct and affected areas.

“We are grateful for the comments by every leader this afternoon, in response to the statement minister has made.

”
Mr Marape said Northern Governor Gary Juffa had made a strong statement, as well as Kompiam-Ambum MP and former Environment and Conservation Minister, Sir John Pundari.

“Every other statement is also correct, finding the right balance,” he said.

“Our harvest of resources comes from the price on our environment.

“We’ve allowed those investors to come in, but the investors who come in must operate within responsibility and due care to our environment, to our country, and to our people.

“I think from the outset, without the specifics on the impact on the environment, the fact that there was a practical defect in the structure of the mine itself is an incident that warrants deeper study into what was taking place, in as far as the mine safety and operation is concerned.

“Cabinet did indicate this to the minister, and I note that minister’s statement embraces further investigation, further assessment.

“Let me assure people of Madang, people of Rai Coast, people of Usino-Bundi and people of this country, that this report and the investigation thus far is not conclusive and that is not the end of the story.

“The fact that there was a slip, which took place in the mine infrastructure, irrespective of the extent of the damage, warrants deeper scrutiny, deeper investigation, deeper assessment.”

Mr Marape assured the people of Madang, Usino-Bundi, Rai Coast, as well as the country, that all stakeholders including Madang government, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA), Mining Department and other Government agencies would look deeper into what had happened.

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Madang people suffering from Ramu mine spill

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

Luwi James | Post Courier | 18 October 2019

It is confirmed that sea waters in Madang is contaminated and poisoned by highly toxic slurry spill from the Basamuk refinery in Raicoast few months ago.

The independent Swiss specialist Dr Mojon who was engaged by the Madang provincial administration has confirmed this in his findings.

This will have a negative impact on the lives of people.
Madang provincial government has already warned the people not use or consume fish from the sea and this is likely to continue on for an indefinite period of time depending on the assessment and solution of this problem.

People living by the sea and on the islands like Karkar, Krangket, Manam,Bagbag, Long Island and other smaller islands have already started feeling the effect.
 The sea is their life and poisoning it is simply starving them to death.

The microsocio-economic cycle and protein supplement of these people has been completely snapped.

This issue also affects tuna production in Madang. Currently, the company is canning fish which are in stock and may stop canning, awaiting the purification of the sea from the poison. People are also afraid to buy canned fish sold in stores and supermarkets.

The deep sea tailing project (DSTP) has been challenged in court by landowners of Basamuk and MCC. The court issued the direction to have constructive measure and a proper regulation system in place to closely monitor the facility but this has never been done which has resulted in the spill and poisoning of sea water.

The people of Raicoast and those on the islands are experiencing all kinds of illnesses.
 Vegetation near the shores are turning yellow and drying up. Dead fish are filling the sea shores. People have been attributing these matters to black magic and sorcery but now they have come to realise that toxic waste from the mine has been the cause of these problems.

The department of environment, conservation and climate change and developer MCC are rebutting the report of the scientist is ridiculous. They are showing their lack of concern for the damage done and how to solve this issue amicably.

The Madang provincial administration must be applauded for undertaking this issue seriously and that the mine has to stop until all investigations are done and proper measures are in place to guarantee the safety of our people.

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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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Expert says lab results from PNG Ramu nickel spill ‘alarming’: report

Melanie Burton | Reuters | October 11, 2019

An expert in chemical contamination has called test results from the Ramu nickel spill into Papua New Guinea’s Basamuk Bay in August “alarming,” according to a local media report on Thursday.

A spill at Metallurgical Corp of China (MCC)’s nickel processing plant located in Madang, on the country’s northeastern coast, caused the surrounding ocean to turn red and left a muddy residue on the rocky shoreline, according to locals and photographs of the incident at the time.

The spill occurred as a result of an operational and administrative failure, a government official said at the time. MCC now faces compensation claims and calls from the local governor to close the plant.

Environmental remediation expert Alex Mojon took samples from the bay in September, according to a news report from Papua New Guinea’ EMTV Online.

Mojon has previously worked for Swiss oil remediation company Man Oil Group AG as its chief scientist, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“I have to tell you that it’s alarming … there is evidence that Ramu Nico is not managing their waste and that is a fact. I have obtained the results from the laboratory from Germany … I am shocked,” Mojon told local media, according to EMTV Online.

All of the 28 samples tested were found to have toxic levels of heavy metals contamination, the EMTV report said, citing Mojon.

Mojon did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

A spokesman for Ramu Nickel did not have an immediate comment while a call to MCC went unanswered. But an executive in August said that company management was “extremely concerned” about the incident and that it would address compensation once its investigation was complete.

An investigation by the country’s Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) is due to be made available in the next week, according to media reports.

In a televised press conference on TVWAN news, Mojon said that some of the spillage had not dispersed and that local residents had complained of smoke from the plant that irritated their skin and eyes.

“We welcome a copy of the report produced by Alex Mojon to be presented officially to CEPA, MRA and other interested organizations before we could make any comments,” said Jerry Garry of Papua New Guinea’s Mineral Resources Authority told Reuters.

“We cannot fully appreciate and comment on his report until a copy and presentation is made to CEPA,” Garry said.

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Expert Says Basamuk Spill ‘A Catastrophe’

Elias Nanau | Post Courier | October 10, 2019

An expert engaged by the Madang Provincial Government to investigate possible environmental and health issues associated with the operation of the Ramu Nickel Mine says it’s a “catastrophe.”

Dr Alex Mojon who has done environment impact and assessment studies in Africa, Europe, Asia including China for over 30 years was with Madang Governor Peter Yama yesterday when he made the statement.

A report is expected to be published in less than a week, with two investigations already being carried out by Dr. Mojon collaborating with other scientists. One was carried out before the slurry spill occurred and another recently after the spill of an estimated 200,000 cubic metres of waste turning the sea red.

Mr Yama said his government decided to engage what he described as “impartial experts” because he alleged that the office of the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) has been compromised and the veracity of their report has to be tested.

“The company has a strong influence on the report,” he said.

Mr Yama was irate and stressed that fishery lives were being affected as far as the borders of Morobe and the Karkar, Long and Bagabag islands northwest of Basamuk.

“One or two people have died,” he said, despite assertions to the contrary by a local health worker in the area and supported by the miner MCC.

“One of my ward councilors of Astrolabe Bay is at the intensive care unit.”

He said he became ill after eating contaminated fish,” Yama said.

Dr Mojen believes evidence strongly point at contamination being the cause of a number of medical conditions.

This included deformity in babies born around the vicinity, saying his investigations focused on the Kurumbukari mine and tracked the pipeline to Basamuk Deep Sea Tailing Disposal set up less than 500 meters from the sea, he interviewed villagers and flew to areas as far as Karkar.

“I was shocked,” he said. “We found it to be a catastrophe. There is evidence that Ramu Nickel Mine is not managing waste well.”

According to him, the samples were tested at a laboratory in Munich, Italy.

An irate Mr Yama said yesterday he would protest by not attending Parliament sessions and he will demand Prime Minister James Marape to intervene.

“We can’t gamble with the lives of the people,” he said firmly.

He said based on financial reports, the Mine has made K27 billion since its operations and the Madang Provincial Government received only K5 million.

Mr Yama said the Kurumbukari mine is on tax holiday.

According to Mr Yama, Lomai and Attorney has been engaged to act swiftly based on additional credible evidence before it to file a lawsuit on environmental issues and an Australian QC is likely to be involved.

Mr Yama’ stance yesterday was; “We will go for the closure of the mine.”

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