Tag Archives: Madang

Yama Claims Two Dead After Eating Contaminated Fish

Post Courier | October 18, 2019

MADANG Governor Peter Yama claims two men have died after eating contaminated fish caught in the polluted Basamuk area.

He told Parliament yesterday that post-mortems would be done soon to confirm his fears.

Mr Yama said this when disputing a statement by Minister of Environment and Conservation, Geoffery Kama, which dismissed the seriousness of the situation at Basamuk.

Mr Kama had told parliament that the discoloration of sea water was due to 200, 000 liters of raw slurry that had overflowed from one of the company’s surge tanks within the Basamuk plant site and did not pose any danger to the environment or people. Tests have also been done to prove this, he said.

“Due to the tests done, I would like to inform this house that marine waters around Basamuk Bay and nearby areas are safe to swim, and for recreational purposes only.”

An irate Mr Yama demanded for the immediate closure of the Ramu nickle mine until proper scientific and environmental tests were done. “Next week six scientists will be in Madang not in the name of Peter Yama but for the interest of the people of Madang, East Sepik, Morobe and West Sepik and the country,” he said.

“Why are the animals dying and ending up on the shore of the bay, why are we telling lies, close the mine, prosecute and send them packing or else you will see a protest march that will close down Madang Province.

“This plant at Basamuk is the worse mine this government has allowed to sit in the province, the way it is set up is not like a mine,” he added.
Mr Yama claimed the company had not paid any taxes to the Government or paid royalties to landowners.

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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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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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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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Report On Basamuk Spill Still To Be Released By Minister

Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier | October 4, 2019

The final report on the Basamuk Bay chemical spill in Madang Province on August 23 will be released by the Environment and Conservation Minister Geoffery Kama, who is away overseas.

The PNG government put forward four recommendations which was detailed and discussed in a heated meeting between the Madang provincial government, Ramu Nico and the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority in Port Moresby yesterday.

Madang provincial administrator Joseph Kunda, represented the Madang team, met with the CEPA team and the Ramu mine executives in Port Moresby.

CEPA did an initial water quality assessment of the raw slurry spill impact area and released the report which would officially be handed to the minister for release in the coming Parliament session.

In the initial assessment, there were four recommendations:

  • Detail investigations of the heavy metals in the slurry components within the Basamuk Bay;
  • Shoreline/benthic sediments and fish tissue sampling and investigations to ascertain heavy metals in the sediments;
  • Socio-economic investigation to establish local community perceptions on the spill, their fishing and usual micro-economic activities within Astrolabe Bay; and
  • An independent investigation to be done forthwith to capture all residual impacts of the August 23 spill within the Basamuk Bay.

The Madang provincial administration team had travelled to meet with CEPA as a matter of urgency for the government to reveal what the cause of dead fish in Madang was, hence the ban on sale of fish.

But CEPA advised yesterday that there was still the need for an independent investigation.
And a full final report to be released later.

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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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MCC’s cursing experience on the Basamuk people

MCC

Food crops dying, drinking water contaminated, dead fishing reefs, what else is left to happen?

The people of Basamuk who are living with the Chinese Nickel Mine right in their face everyday since it started operations, are meeting their fate of having a FOREIGN MINER on their land and dumping into their sea.

Some may say the effects are slowly kicking in but for Terry Kunning, a very outspoken Basamuk landowner, the effects are closing in way too fast for the people to adjust or adapt.

“In fact it is impossible for anyone to adjust or adapt in a situation like this,” Terry said.

“It is not double trouble, it is trouble way over our heads because our crops are dying after the continuous gas release from the mine sinks and settles on them, and the sea turned red again after the chemical spill at the beginning of March, so where are we supposed to go to?” said a very worried Kunning.

Basamuk is an island in the Basamuk Bay of Madang Province and the people’s livelihood like any other islanders, depends entirely on the sea for traditional medicine, bathing, transportation, and for fish to eat and to sell for money for school fees, health care and other basic necessities.

According to the villagers, the sea has turned red once again as a result of the recent chemical spill, causing some more reefs to die out, killing some fish and scaring the others away. The people say that they are aware that the fish they catch and eat are most likely to be contaminated, but they eat them anyway because that is their only food.

As well as that, like any other islanders, the Basamuk people collect rainwater for drinking. However as of last year they have witnessed patches of black substances never seen and experienced before on their rooftops after strong winds, which often take place every afternoon and night and on bad weather days.

Now the rain that falls onto their roofs, into the gutters and into their tanks and everything else that they use to collect their drinking water with, has been washing that substance into their drinking water ever since. As it is with the fish, the islanders are still drinking the water they collect, because that is all they have for drinking.

Food plants in their gardens are withering and drying out, and if they do bear food, it is either malnourished or has a lot of sores. They said they are often left with very little of a taro to eat, because that’s all they are left with after cutting out the sores.

Mind you, they have some of the biggest taros grown on the island; one taro can feed two adults or four children in a meal. Like the fish and the drinking water, their garden food is most likely to be contaminated as well, but they still eat it because that what they have for eating.

If their garden foods are dying, their drinking water polluted, their fishing reefs destroyed, then where are they suppose to get their food and water from?

Off course there are stores but where do they get the money to buy food and water because after all, they say they haven’t seen any form of real benefit that can be seen as real development from this Chinese miner.

Even at this time with what they’re going through, the people say the Chinese miner, aka the ‘developer’ hasn’t called in with any supplies of any kind to help the people it claims to be bringing development to.

As the people put it, ‘What is development? The development we’re getting, is this new cursing experience’.

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