Tag Archives: Ramu nickel mine

Minister brushes aside scientists’ Ramu reports


Freddy Mou | Loop PNG | 14 November 2019


Minister for Environment and Conservation, Wera Mori, has labelled scientific findings by the scientists from Switzerland, led by Dr Alex Mojon, as baseless and untrue.

Minister Mori claims the report by Dr Mojon intends to tarnish the good name of the current Government.

The newly-appointed Minister for Environment and Conservation has brushed aside reports by scientists engaged by the Madang Provincial Government to investigate environmental damages at Ramu NiCo’s Basamuk processing plant.

He further condemned a statement by a local scientist engaged to investigate the cause of the marine creatures dying in Madang after the spillage.

The Madang Provincial Government, through the Provincial Administrator’s office, invited the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority and other government line agencies to a collaborative meeting with a group of experts, led by Dr Mojon. This was to undertake investigations into the impact of mining activities by the Ramu Nickel Mine.

Mori has also urged the people of Madang not to be fooled by “fake reports” on social media until proven otherwise in laboratories.

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PNG and International Scientists Denied Access to Ramu Mine

Post Courier | November 11, 2019

Papua New Guinea scientists and medical practitioners engaged by the national government and working together with the International scientists on the Ramu mine spill were denied access to the Ramu Nickel Mine site last Friday and Saturday to carry out further sampling and investigation.

The helicopters carrying the team of scientists were landing at the Basamuk mine helipad and told to immediately leave the premises or face severe problems.

This is after one of the officers of Ramu mine, who was part of the national and Madang investigation team meeting, agreed for the collaborated team to visit the mine site and do samplings.

The Ramu mine security team denied the scientists access to the site and advised them to leave immediately after landing at the mine site helipad and premises.

“We went there because we were told by officers of the MCC that attended the collaborated meeting that we could land on site and carry out our samplings,” the scientists said. “But instead when we landed we were told to immediately leave the premises.”

A special meeting was also held on Thursday night, between Madang Governor Peter Yama, Sir Arnold Amet, international scientists, public servants and Madang citizens, independent scientists, government scientists and representatives from MCC.

The meeting was to discuss plans and way forward to work together to carry out the investigation and one recommendation was to go and carry out samplings on various selected locations at the Basamuk and Astrolabe Bay.

Ramu mine executives told the Post-Courier later that they refused because they were still waiting for the official investigation that Prime Minister James Marape had announced in Parliament which would see Deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven sanction.

“The company will only accept the finding and reports sanctioned by the PNG National Government, not others. The company refutes the damning report which is irresponsible, defamatory and malicious to the corporate image of Ramu NiCo (MCC), a genuine developer invited by the government of PNG to operate in this country,” they said.

The investigations covered Karkar Island, Bagbag Island, Long Island, Kranket Island, Bilbil village, Yabob vil-lage, Basamuk Bay, Usino, Ramu and Kurumbukari.

“We are quite concern because the time is very short to prepare ourselves, including those who are invited to confirm their involvement,”

“While we appreciate that the provincial government is opening up the opportunity for all parties to engage, we will participate when CEPA, NFA and all the lead government agencies involve so that the investigation result can warrant for the up-lifting of the fish ban by the provincial government,”

“We must also have a round table meeting to discuss on so many things before the investigation begins because this is a highly technical area. We cannot just get a helicopter, fly to Karkar Island and collect samples anywhere and bring back on the chopper unsecured,” the company management said.

Ramu NiCo management said CEPA last week announced that the national government has engaged a third party to conduct investigation into the sea waters of Madang following a continuous allegation on fish death and other sea contamination.

But the national government agencies engaged to work together with Swiss and German Scientists from CEPA, NAQIA, NFA and provincial health authorities said the provincial government was also an authority and that Ramu did not need to wait for Mr Marape’s investigations.

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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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Basamuk Spill Poisonous, Scientists Claim

Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier | November 4, 2019

International scientists engaged by the Madang provincial government claimed last Friday that they have data to prove that the Basamuk spill was poisonous to the people of Madang.

And they further claimed that the chemical spill by miner Ramu Nico at Basamuk was dangerous and would take four to five years for the sea to get back to what it was. They have also claimed that their scientific laboratory results of a sample test of a dead dolphin in Rai Coast had confirmed the heavy presence of chemicals.

And that all fish species, algae and plants death, were due to the heavy metals laden slurry spill which included mercury, zinc, magnese, cromium and others were all dangerous heavy metals found in the tissues, soils and waters samples collected and tested in the Netherlands and Germany.

A team of 12 scientists, technicians and administration staff from the Swiss Association for Quality and Environment Management (SVQ), Scientific and Administrative team involved in the environmental assessment in regard of the RamuNiCo Mining and Processing Activities in Madang Province led by Dr Alex Mojon are now in Madang to further test new areas in the Basamuk Bay.

They are Dr Mojon as the head of the group, chief coordinator Maila Savaliuk, Professor Dr Peter Felix-Henningsen, Dr Daniel Weber, Dr Iwe Hiester, Dr Jurii Zavgorodney, Arnold Springer, Oleskly Kuwakin, Heinz Ihne, Chemist Thomas Henneberger, Dr Ueli Augsburger, Walter Knapp and Partner company of SVQ Sir Jimmy Francis Hinch, the CEO of CJI General Construction, Batangas.

On Thursday a Madang provincial team and the scientists met with the Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke and Minister for Environment Geoffery Kama to further cement their resolve to come up with solutions that can be addressed across all levels of government.

At a press conference with media in Port Moresby Dr Mojon, accompanied by Madang Governor Peter Yama and administrator Joseph Kunda presented results including data and facts on the spill.

Dr Mojon said the results and interpretations were scientific data which were not focusing on any non-indented, intended or legal accuses in confront of the RamuNiCo – but they were a data bank which shall be the base for a further mutual cooperation with the National Government, national authorities as well as with the RamuNiCo.

Dr Mojon said the reflected data were a summary of field sampling (accordingly to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and to the European Norms and Standards of Environmental Assessments) for the period of May until October 2019 (3 Assessments), and of chemical-physical analysis, executed by the German Certified and Accredited Görtler Analytical laboratory.

“The interpretations are reflecting the actual stand of understanding and findings. We need additional research on punctual matters to fortify the final balance of the assumed Environmental Impacts,” he said.

RamuNico executives told the Post-Courier they will seek legal advice from their lawyers before making any comments but assured they are ready for roundtable meetings with all stakeholders, the national government, scientists and Madang provincial administration and the leaders.

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Controversial Ramu mine reopens but locals unhappy

Two hundred thousand litres of toxic slurry spilled into the ocean in August from the mine’s Basamuk refinery, turning the sea red. Photo: Facebook/ Elisha Wesley Mizeu

Benjamin Robinson-Drawbridge | Radio New Zealand | 29 October 2019

The controversial Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea’s Madang province is back in operation after being closed following a slurry spill.

The Post Courier reported the Mineral Resources Authority had granted permission for the miner to resume operations last Friday less than a week after being shut down by the government.

The authority said its inspectors found the miner had rectified defects and put in place measures to ensure any water from the processing plant was captured and pumped into its tailings treatment facility.

A fishing ban remains in place on the Rai Coast where locals said large marine mammals and fish had washed up dead following the spill.

A community health worker from the Saidor health centre, Lynette Dawo, said those included a dolphin, a turtle, a dugong and a school of tuna.

“We encountered a very big dolphin. It just washed up on the shore to our own beach. A very big one. They buried it and reported it to the marine people. They came and told them to dig it up and when they dug it up they just cut off the intestines and took it away. But after all they didn’t even report to us and tell us what will happen,” Ms Dawo said.

“And then we had a big turtle that died and washed up to the shore. And then another dugong died, washed up to the shore. And then we had about 27 tuna, the very big ones, they all died same time and just washed up to the shore and people got them and buried them,” she said.

Coastal housing in Madang province. Photo: RNZ/Johnny Blades

Rai Coast locals were struggling without sustenance from the ocean, Ms Dawo said.

“Now people are suffering, no fish to eat. Our main source of protein we getting from the sea but they stopped it. People are all suffering especially those ones who live on the coast who mainly live on fish,” she said.

Also from Saidor, Norman Nayak said without the ability to catch fish, Rai Coast fishermen were out of pocket.

“People along the coast depend heavily on fish. They sell to the markets, they harvest fish for daily meals,” Mr Nayak said.

“People are scared. They feel that to visit the sea or get something out of the sea is very dangerous, very risky.”

The area has been declared safe for swimming but Ms Dawo said fear of the sea persisted after children developed skin irritations while bathing during the spill.

“Kids went down to the sea to have their washing. They were touched by this acid or poison from the sea and they developed a skin itchiness. Now we told all the kids not to go and wash in the sea,” she said.

Other swimmers had been more severely affected, Ms Dawo claimed.

“Three young girls went diving in the sea and when they came out they were screaming for their skin itchiness all over. People rushed over and told them to go the river and wash with fresh water. Later on blisters formed on their skin.”

Large-scale and small-scale fishing in the waters off Madang in Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The mine is operated by MCC (Metallurgical Corporation of China) and majority owned by MCC Ramu NiCo Ltd, which told the Post Courier it was grateful to the mining authority for its guidance to rectify faults and for allowing it to resume operations at the processing plant.

“For the mines inspectorate to give us permission to operate after a week of temporary shutdown demonstrates the trust they have in us that we have built over the last 10 years,” the miner said.

“We want to tell the people of Madang and PNG that Ramu NiCo is a reputable investor in PNG and remains committed to share the benefits from the project with every stakeholder, including the national government.”

But according to Ms Dawo and Mr Nayak, benefits had not been shared with people living around the mine.

“We were all excited thinking it would be a change to bring development into the area. We were thinking that they would help constructing bridges and making improvement in the infrastructure there but nothing has happened so far,” Mr Nayak said.

“Recently with the spill, seeing the ocean getting red, people were so scared and shouting ‘government has to put a stop to this mining’. It has brought nothing, no development to the locals,” he said.

Ms Dawo said people had become so frustrated they could retaliate against the miner.

“This company is one of the greediest companies, doesn’t provide anything good for the people. There’s no roads. Nothing good is done. There’s primary schools, we have two secondary high schools here but they don’t even support anything. Our health centre is run down, they are doing nothing.

“That’s one of the greediest companies working here in Papua New Guinea.”

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Madang Locals call for Third Independent investigation in Ramu Mine Spill

NBC News /ONE PNG | 29 October 2019

Locals in Madang Province affected by Ramu Nickel’s Basamuk refinery spill are calling for a third independent investigation into the spill.

A first investigation was conducted by the Conservation Environment and Protection Authority, and the second by an Oil Spill consultant from Switzerland engaged by the Madang Provincial Government.

Prime Minister James Marape recently announced in Parliament, a third investigation team will be put together headed by Deputy Prime Minister Davis-Steven to look further into the spill.

Up until today, the locals are left in the dark, as to what has become of this team and what their next course of action will be.

Local, Thomas Warr told NBC News from Madang, this is a very serious issue and must not be taken lightly by the Government as the people have stopped fishing and swimming- an exercise that has severely impacted on their daily livelihoods.

“We are scattered along the coast – it’s not one small village only affected therefore if anything happens at Basamuk, we all have no control over it.

“So something must be done immediately to address this.

“There must be some kind of compensation or something to keep the locals going while awaiting further reports,” Mr. Warr said.

Meantime, there is a lot of confusion and anxiety amongst the locals in the Raicoast and Madang districts following reports of the re-opening of the Ramu Nickel Mine by the Mineral Resources Authority recently.

Mr. Thomas Warr said though being given the green light to go ahead and fish and swim again, they have not done so and that they have completely lost trust in the Government departments supposed to protect the people and environment.

Mr. Warr said the villagers have been given conflicting advice from these different Government organizations involved in the investigations into the mine spill in August.

A 200-000 litres of toxic slurry had spilled into the sea, from the Ramu Nickel Mine’s Basamuk processing plant causing the sea color to change and allegedly contributing to the death of marine creatures a month later.

Approximately 30-000 people from the immediate areas of Astrolabe Bay to the border of Morobe are estimated to be impacted by this spill and the ultimate ban on fish consumption.

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Toxic spill from Ramu mine a threat to health, locals say

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

Dateline Pacific | Radio New Zealand | 29 October 2019

People living on Papua New Guinea’s Rai Coast say a toxic spill from the Ramu nickel mine has killed marine life, destroyed livelihoods and endangered their health.

They also say the mining company has done nothing for the community apart from pollute it.

Ben Robinson Drawbridge has more.

The Ramu nickel mine has been temporarily closed by the government pending an investigation into the August spill in which 200,000 litres of toxic slurry flowed into the ocean.

Fishing is now banned in the area as Rai coast resident Amili Deide explains.

“The colour of the saltwater was turned to red. Now they stop all the catches, the provincial government, they stop the local people to get the fish because most of the fish are contaminated and the people are very afraid. Salt water pollution and all this so most of the people are not using the salt water to wash.”

The Rai coast has been declared safe for swimming, however, a community health worker from the Saidor health centre, Lynette Dawo, says people are still afraid of the ocean after some children went in to wash shortly after the spill.

“Kids went down to the sea to have their washing. When they came out they were screaming for their skin itchiness all over, and they had blisters all over. People just rushed over and told them to go to the river and to wash with the fresh water. Now we told all the kids not to go and wash in the sea.”

Ms Dawo says large marine mammals and fish have since been washing up dead.

“We encountered a very big dolphin. It just washed up on the shore to our own beach. A very big one. They buried it and reported it to the marine people. They came and told them to dig it up and when they dug it up they just cut off the intestines and take it away. And then we had a big turtle that died and washed up to the shore. And then another dugong died, washed up to the shore. And we had about 27 tuna, the very big ones, they all died same time and just washed up to the shore and people got them and buried them.”

Another Saidor resident, Norman Nayak, says fishermen and Rai coast communities that depend on seafood are now struggling.

He says these are the same people that welcomed the mine.

“We were all excited thinking it would be a change to bring development into the area. We were thinking that they would help constructing bridges and making improvement in the infrastructure there but nothing has happened so far.

“Recently with the spill-off, seeing the ocean getting red people were so scared and shouting ‘government has to put a stop to this mining’. It has brought nothing, no development to the locals.”

Lynette Dawo says people have become so frustrated they could retaliate against the miner.

“This company is one of the greediest companies, doesn’t provide anything good for the people. There’s no roads. Nothing good is done. There’s primary schools, we have two secondary high schools here but they don’t even support anything.

“Our health centre is run down, they are doing nothing. That’s one of the greediest companies working here in Papua New Guinea.”

The mine’s owner the Metallurgical Corporation of China has not responded to a request for comment.

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