Tag Archives: marine waste dumping

Govt not learning from experience

Freddy Gigmai | Post Courier | February 8, 2019

The current government along with its responsible agencies are still not learning from the damaging experiences of mining activities in the country.

The experiences of Panguna, Ok Tedi, Tolukuma, and others are all there for the responsible authorities to learn and do things properly. The environmental pollution and damages caused by these mines have exceeded the monetary and other benefits put together.

The evidence are overwhelming but the government is still somewhat ignorant thus placing short term revenue gains ahead of long term gains and sustainability and dependence of our small people on the natural resources such as river systems, forests, seas, etc.

The recent MoU signed by the O’Neill government with the developers of the multi-billion kina Wafi-Golpu mining project in Morobe province is another clear indication that it does not care about the local peoples welfare and long term survival.

The Morobe Governor and Huon Gulf MP Ross Seymour with the concerned landowners must be commended for voicing their concerns against the signed MoU.

The MoU is rushed and is sinister because there is no clear indication of the where the mine tailings will be properly stored and disposed. At present, it is apparent that the tailings will no doubt be dumped into the sea on the Morobe coast. The environmental damages that the tailings disposal pose are unimaginable.

Although Bulolo MP and Energy Minister Sam Basil and former Morobe Governor Kelly Naru have said that the MoU is only a guide to pave the way forward, the concerns of the Morobe people and leaders who will be directly affected must be respected and considered.

It is very surprising to see the minister responsible for mining and Kainantu MP Johnson Tuke silent on this very important issue.

Also on a close look of the electoral boundaries, eighty percent of the Wafi-Golpu project is in the Huon Gulf electorate and not in Bulolo-Wau so

Basil’s heavy involvement and not Ross Seymour as the Huon Gulf MP with Governor Saonu is a concern as well.

The natural resources and assets of this country must not be taken for a ride by a few privileged individuals. The MPs are voted into parliament to make decisions in the best interest of the people as their first priority and not for themselves and the developers who after all are short terms profit-oriented visitors who only care to bring the best returns to their shareholders only.

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Labuta People Reject Wafi-Golpu Dumping Proposal

Benny Geteng | Post Courier | January 10, 2019

PEOPLE in the Labuta local level government area of Morobe Province are adamant that the proposed deep sea tailing placement (DSTP) into the Huon Gulf must be stopped.

Tikeleng village youth leader Jerry Sakiang said he is scared their sea will be destroyed along with marine vegetation.

Mr Sakiang said he is concerned that if the tailings destroy the marine environment, the people’s daily livelihood will be destroyed forever.

Tony Keakop, traditional landowner sharing a boundary with Ahi – Yanga located along Kamgalo river, echoed similar sentiments and said a total ban must take place.

“Mi tok no long dispela deep sea tailing long solwara (I say no to the deep sea tailing placement into the sea),” he said.

“Ol Ahi hangere man laikim moni long kaikai olsem na ol wok long pasim maus na sapotim stap ya (The Ahi are hungry for money that is why they shut their mouth and continue to support).”

On behalf of his people at Apo village, representing Poaluc Kehuc clan, he said: “I say a total no to the proposed tailings pipeline into the Huon Gulf Sea.”

Mr Keakop said Wafi- Golpu Joint Venture should bring their waste and dump it somewhere else, but not the sea.

“Karim waste bilong ol go dumpim long sampela hap na I no solwara bilong mipela. (Take their waste and dump it somewhere else and not into our waters),” he said.

“We’ve never been informed or there’s never been any awareness carried out!”

Several villagers at Aluki and Wagang are also very vocal on the same matter and it is understood a consensus forum will be held this month to debate the proposed idea.

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Governor’s Stance Against Marine Waste Dumping Applauded

Benny Geteng | Post Courier | December 21, 2018

The Morobe Coastal Solwara Association has applauded the stand by Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu against dumping of mine tailings into the sea.

President Kamong Mazzewin said although Wafi-Golpu Mine Project brings exciting opportunities in benefits for the province and country, it must not be forgotten that someone has to pay the price.

“Governor Saonu’s statement made a huge difference for our children’s future. Five maritime districts of Morobe will pay the price of waste tailings effect,” he said.

Mr Mazeewin said he can’t remember whether there is a record of consultation by the developer MMJV among all the five districts in the province from Morobe south coast, Huon Salamaua, Huon Labu Wampar, Lae coastal villages, Nawaeb Labuta, Yabim, Finschhafen Urban and Tewae- Siassi.

“There has been one consultation meeting by developer held at Sipaia Wagang village and this does not represent all coastal villages in the five districts,” he said.

Mr Mazzewin, an engineer by profession, said the proposed method to be used in pumping the solid tailings into the sea may not the best option. He said while the solid tailings can easily settle, the finer tailing particles that might not be easily pumped down into the deep could easily float or resurface onto the upper body of water that are easily affected by the disturbing shifting currents around Huon Gulf.

“There has to be a way to dump waste tailing, maybe by building land tailing dam as suggested by Governor Saonu,” he said.

“I call on the Governor to make a time to immediately hold a forum to have an open and honest talk to the five coastal districts of Morobe as soon as possible.”

He said arrangements will be coordinated by the Morobe Coastal Solwara Association executives and the office of the Governor of Morobe.

“A further call is extended to all Morobe coastal elites around Morobe, PNG and overseas to garner support to the cause,” he said.
Governor Saonu has raised concerns about the environmental effects of the proposed dumping of Wafi-Golpu mine tailings into the Huon Gulf.

He supported coastal villagers of Morobe from the northern part who will be directly affected by the massive outflow of tailings from Wafi- Golpu Mining Project and said that WGJV must consider other alternatives from the current proposed idea.

WGJV maintains that the risks of tailings affecting the food chain for fish are extremely low and the conclusion is that Deep Sea Tailings Placement (DSTP) is not predicted to affect the coastal environment, productive surface waters, community health and fisheries.

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Wafi-Golpu not good for province: Governor

The National aka The Loggers times | December 17, 2018

Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu, says alternatives to mining such as tourism and agriculture will be developed in the province.

He told The National that Morobe had a thriving agricultural sector and an undeveloped tourism industry which had huge potential.

Explaining why he had refused to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture last week, the governor declared that Morobe did not recognise it as it was not for the good of the province.

“When I stood for election in 2017, I spoke about ‘kisim bek Morobe (taking back Morobe)’,” he said.

“Kisim bek Morobe means that anything that is wrong in Morobe, or anything that the people need, we will work hard for them.

“I want to make sure that people of Morobe gain enough.

“My position is for the people of Morobe, not for Ginson Saonu, not for any political party’s interest, not for anybody who wants to bribe me.”

Meanwhile, Saonu has expressed concern about the proposed dumping of Wafi-Golpu mine tailings into the Huon Gulf.

He supported coastal villagers of Morobe, from Morobe Post along the border with Northern to the Siassi Islands bordering West New Britain, who stand to be affected by a massive outflow of tailings.

The villagers depend on the sea for the livelihood, he said.

The Huon Gulf is also one of the few habitats in the world for leatherback turtle nesting.

Saonu is well aware of the fragile environment of the gulf and urged the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture to look at other alternatives,

“We have to listen to the people,” Saonu told The National.

“People are not like before, when they had no knowledge, no idea, no education to read what’s happening in other parts of the world where there is environmental damage and so forth. Everybody is knowledgeable about what’s happening in other mines around the world, and even in Papua New Guinea like Ok Tedi, Bougainville and others.

“They are mindful of the environment.”

Saonu said the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea had made itself clear that it wanted a tailings dam and not a pipe leading into the sea.

“If the people and the church want a tailings dam, it has to be a tailings dam – not put a pipe through to the sea and damage the environment,” he said.

The mine is to dump its tailings into the waters of the Huon Gulf, according to an updated feasibility study report released earlier this year.

The report said three types of tailings management options had been considered during various studies undertaken since 2012: Various terrestrial tailings storage facilities, dry-stacking and deep-sea tailings placement (DSTP).

However, it ruled out various tailings storage facilities and dry-stacking, and opted for deep-sea tailings placement.

“Deep-sea tailings placement studies have been conducted as part of the 2017-18 work programme,” the report said.

“Oceanographic and environmental studies in the Western Huon Gulf to date have confirmed that area to be a highly-suitable environment for deep-sea tailings placement.

“It hosts a deep canyon leading to a very deep oceanic basin with no evidence of upwelling of deeper waters to the surface.

“The tailings are expected to mix and co-deposit with a significant, naturally occurring loading of riverine sediments from the Markham, Busu and other rivers that also are conveyed via the Markham Canyon to the deep sea.”

PNG has three existing active deep-sea tailings placement operations (Lihir, Simberi, and Ramu Nickel), one permitted (Woodlark) and one closed (Misima).

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Ramu Mine Announces K4.8B Mine Expansion

The pipeline carrying slurry from the Ramu mine to the coast

Post Courier | October 1, 2018

RAMU NiCo Management Limited, the developer of the country’s first nickel, cobalt mining project last Thursday, announced expansion plans investing over US$1.5 (K4.8) billion into the project.

The Madang project expansion is expected to provide an additional one thousand plus job opportunities for locals when construction and production starts.

The announcement was made at the Ramu Project Update meeting organized by the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), which was attended by project stakeholders, government department representatives, and landowners from four impacted areas.

Feasibility studies of the expansion project had already been completed which is covering new areas in the Kurumbukari plateau in Usino-Bundi district in Madang.

The product matrix in the expansion still remains the same as nickel/cobalt hydroxide (MHP).

Furthermore, the expansion is expected to increase production and reduce operation costs.

Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Community Affairs Manager, Albert Tobe in representing the company highlighted that the project expansion report submission would be made to the MRA, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) and the Chinese Embassy following compilation of various approval procedures.

The scheduling of the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MoA) for the project expansion is expected to be done in November during the APEC Leaders Summit which it is also anticipated that the two leaders from PNG and China would also witness.

Vice president of Ramu NiCo (MCC), Wang Baowen in clarifying the project expansion at the meeting stated that the expansion is expected to support cash flow within the project area and create local business spin-offs for the locals.

Furthermore, it is expected to improve the living condition for people who relate to the Ramu.

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Wafi-Golpu plan to dump mine waste in sea queried

The National aka The Loggers Times | September 13, 2018

Salamaua LLG president Philemon Tomala has expressed concern about the plan to dump Wafi-Golpu mine tailings into Huon Gulf.

He said that both Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture and Morobe government should spell out the effects of the tailings on the gulf, where people fish for their livelihood. It is also one of few places in the world where the endangered giant leatherback turtle nests.

“The mining company and Morobe government say it is safe to get this waste into the sea,” Tomala said.

“From experiences we have seen, like Panguna mine and others, the people out there still have questions in their minds as to how safe the waste is, going onto the sea.

“This is because our people’s livelihood is in the sea.

“They go fishing to sustain their day-to-day living, but with this thing coming, we have a lot of questions Whether it is safe for marine life or not.”

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PLANNED MINE PIPELINE THROUGH LAE UNDER ATTACK

“Minister Tuke welcomed these concerns and promised to have responsible agencies address them in the right processes, however  he called to have the mine agreement formalized before the November APEC meeting, a time frame which seems unreal given the outstanding issues of identifying other affected landowner groups and addressing their concerns”

Gabriel Lahoc | NBC News | 12 July 2018

The planned Wafi-Golpu mine pipeline, which will run out from the mine site from the borders of Bulolo and Huon Gulf districts, across the Markham river and ending in the industrial hub of Lae, has come under attack.

Leaders from the Ahi tribe, notably from Butibam village, and the Wafi-Golpu Mine Area Landowners Association, surprised the organisers and the guests when they interjected at the closing of the Wafi-Golpu mine project development forum yesterday at the Sir Ignatius Kilage stadium in Lae.

Chairman of the Wafi-Golpu Mine Area Landowners Association, Holmes Kissing, faced the guests, which included Mining Minister Johnson Tuke Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu, Communications and Energy Minister and Bulolo MP Sam Basil, Huon Gulf MP Ross Seymour, Menyamya MP Thomas Pelika, Tewai-Siassi MP Dr Kobby Bomareo, Mineral Resources Authority Executive Manager Sean Ngansia, Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture senior executives and the chairmen of the three primary landowners groups, Yanta, Hengambu and Babuaf, and expressed the people’s disappointment in their handling of the negotiations relating to the project.

This first ever forum is where all stakeholders were supposed to meet together and participate in discussions, but according to the frustated Ahi and other mine affected communities, not all stakeholder groups were ever consulted or invited to express themselves.

Mr Kissing, who is also from Butibam, shouted down the master of ceremony who was closing the first day open session, and was allowed by Minister Tuke, to air their grievances.

Mr Kissing, pointed out Morobe Deputy Provincial Administrator Masayat Moat, for failing in his leadership to get as many and all concerned parties together in the negotiations and discussions leading to the forum.

He told the national leaders and Wafi-Golpu JV executives that there were several outstanding issues as the planned pipeline will run through traditional land of several tribes and communities from outside and within Lae city and the fact that the state has not yet compensated the rightful landowners for the Lae Tidal Basin port and Lae city and that only one Ahi village of Wagang, where the pipe will end, was included as a stakeholder.

Reflecting on the mistakes of Hidden Valley mine, Mr Kissing warned that the livelihood of the people in and around the mine area, to those along the rivers and along the nearby coastline will be affected, and the frustrated locals will rise up against the developer and the government if they ignore these issues and concerns and sign any agreements and deals.

Mr Seymour and Mr Basil, admitted that the majority of the affected people are not yet ready for the mine and vowed to task the provincial administration to help identify affected communities and involve them, .

Minister Tuke welcomed these concerns and promised to have responsible agencies address them in the right processes, however in his speech he called to have the mine agreement formalized before the November APEC meeting, a time frame which seems unreal given the outstanding issues of identifying other affected landowner groups and addressing their concerns.

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