Field investigations to begin under Panguna Mine Legacy Impact Assessment

by PNG Business News - April 28, 2023

Photo credit: NIT

Field research and investigations will begin next week as part of the work being done under the Panguna Mine Legacy Impact Assessment.

The field research will be carried out across mine-impacted areas and will involve identifying and assessing any environmental impacts of the Panguna Mine since mining was stopped in 1989, and the social and human rights that are directly connected to these environmental impacts.  

ABG Member for Ioro Constituency Hon Theonila Matbob says these field investigations are a critical activity to be undertaken under the Assessment.

“We are in full support of the field work team as they begin Phase One of the Panguna Mine Legacy Impact Assessment. The data they will be collecting will play a crucial role in this whole process. It is important that we work together to support this team in doing their work by providing a safe and cooperative environment for them to complete their research. This will help ensure the best data collection possible, helping this process to understand the impacts the mine has had on the surrounding areas and people.”

The field investigations will be completed across the Panguna Mine affected area in selected high-risk areas including: the Loloho port, in and around the Panguna Mine; the river system including the Kawerong River, Jaba River, Kuneka Creek and areas impacted by tailings deposition, and the delta area where the rivers system enters the Empress Augusta Bay.

The field investigations will be carried out by experienced scientists made up of Bougainvilleans, Papua New Guineans and international experts under Tetra Tech Coffey.  

They will be collecting data from water, soil and air samples, as well as conducting interviews with local people from the impacted areas. Additional data collection will also include aerial surveys (from a plane) known as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) surveys, as well as gathering information from weather stations setup for the study.

The data and findings from the completed Phase One of the Panguna Mine Legacy Impact Assessment will be presented in mid-2024 to the Oversight Committee and will be translated and shared back with the impacted communities.

Earlier this month, ABG President Hon. Ishmael Toroama called on all leaders, landowners and people to allow the assessment to be completed, saying that there has to be results that can guide the government and the company to resolving the problems from the mine.

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