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Mori to Assess the Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts of Mines

Because of the pressing issues surrounding four mines in the country - Ramu Nico mine in Madang, Ok Tedi in Western, Porgera in Enga and Sinivit in East New Britain - Environment and Conservation Minister Wera Mori said an assessment will be done to determine their environmental and socio-economic impacts.

Mori said that officials from the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa) are scheduled to visit these mine sites to check out their impacts.

“There have been pressing issues that have been raised regarding the Ramu Nico project in Madang, the Porgera gold mine in the Enga and the contamination of the Fly River system from tailings and other mine wastes in Ok Tedi,” Mori said. “We will undertake the second phase of investigations into the spillage of Basamuk (Madang). Work will soon go into the second phase that will also extend to the Ramu river catchment basin.”

Mori said that a team was already in place and an independent one will also be sent to the Ramu River to check out its operations and see its impacts on the communities. According to Mori, an initial investigation showed that the recent slurry spill in Madang didn’t go over the required threshold.

He added that the Ok Tedj and Porgera mines also share the same descriptions in terms of its effects on the river systems because of wastes from the mines.

“We are going to secure money and conduct studies on the environmental and socio-economic impacts that the Porgera mine has had on the people of Porgera which is important for Porgera to move forward,” he said. “Cepa has also already written to Ok Tedi so that we could investigate the possibility of dredging the Fly River below the confluence of the Strickland as it comes out of Lake Murray and Ok Tedi River.

He added, “We will engage people who would go and start undertaking dredging. We have today serious exposures of cyanide tailings in East New Britain in Sinivit of the Wild Dog mine. Unfortunately, when the developer of the mine left the country, they did not address the tailings issue. We have got to bring in people who are capable of cleaning industrial waste that are highly toxic. Therefore the staff from Cepa together with MRA (Mineral Resources Authority) will make a trip to Wild Dog and make an assessment.”

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