MAC: Mines and Communities

Secret government report says Ramu mine dumping flawed

Published by MAC on 2010-05-23
Source: Ramumine blog

Further concerns have been raised about submarine tailings disposal at the proposed Ramu mine, this time in a report from the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS).

Although the government has yet to publish it, (the latest from the lead scientist is that it will be made public some time this year) protesting villagers on the coast have still been able to make use of its critical findings. No doubt this will also support on-going legal cases (see:

Cynics may suggest that its publication is being held up untill the Ramu project is well underway, and therefore potentially unstoppable.

Secret government report says mine dumping flawed

13 May 2010

An unpublished report commissioned by the PNG government from the Scottish Association of Marine Science, states that the submarine tailings disposal by the Ramu nickel mine could have widespread environmental impacts.

The PNG government has refused to release the report findings, but a copy was given to a surprised Deputy Prime Minister, Puka Temu, by Rai Coast landowners on Monday when they also presented him with a 7,500 signature petition against the marine dumping.

The SAMS report says the mine waste will not lie dormant on the sea floor, as claimed by the Chinese State owned Ramu mine, but will be widely dispersed in the Vitiaz Strait, notably towards Madang and Kakar Island and across Astrolobe Bay

The publication of these findings will also come as a serious embarrassment to Madang governor, Arnold Amet, whose home village is on Kakar Island.

The Report also assesses the environmental impact of marine waste dumping at two other PNG mines, Lihir and Misima, and finds there has been significant damage.

For Lihir the report finds "an unambiguous demonstration that ongoing DSTP has major impacts on the abundance and community structure of meio- and macrofauna, extending to water depths of at least 2020 m".

While at Misima, "significant tailings impacts are still apparent 13 years after the cessation of DSTP".

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