PNG and International Scientists Denied Access to Ramu Mine
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.