In talks over a waste disposal system, Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori stated that the Papua New Guinea government desires to stop this stalemate for the K18 billion (US$5.4 billion) Wafi-Golpu gold-copper project.
He added that he was going to sign an “approval in principle” to use the deep sea tailing placement (DSTP) “without any further delay”. Note that the Morobe government and landowners were against the DSTP method and opted to use an on-land system to store mine waste.
Mori said he is already tired of waiting and that they are ready to sign.
Last week, the Morobe government and the landowners met in Lae and decided to not approve the DSTP method. Governor Ginson Saonu said that the government should look into an alternative.
“The people of Morobe have spoken saying yes to Wafi-Golpu and no to DSTP,” he said. “To propose a submarine deep sea tailing in Huon Gulf Sea must be prohibited (as) it is unethical and improper.”
Saonu also added that submarine tailing was not allowed in international gold mining principles and standards which project developers must abide by. “Wafi-Golpu mine must be subject to international best practice and principles of which Newcrest and Harmony Gold Mining Company Ltd are members,” Saonu said.
Mori said the provincial government was to make a submission but only wrote a letter to Marape. “They did not make a submission. They only wrote a letter to the Prime Minister. Their approach is wrong,” he said. “All statutory requirements have been complied with or met. We can’t make exceptions. We’ve asked them for a submission but they (instead) wrote a letter.”
As a result of several requirements and processes fulfilled by the joint venture of the Wafi-Golpu copper and gold project in Morobe, Mori said the Environment Council has accepted the environmental impact statement and recommended to him the approval of the project. Some gold mines such as the Simberi gold mine (New Ireland), the Lihir gold mine (New Ireland), the Misima gold mine (Milne Bay), and Ramu nickel mine use the DSTP method and no negative impacts were reported.