MAC: Mines and Communities

Frieda River tailings dam proposal is not an option

Published by MAC on 2020-11-16
Source: The National

The headwaters of the Sepik River are safe, at least for now.

While the plan for a tailings dam at the headwaters of the Sepik River has been apparently rejected, it is extremely worrying that it seems to be calling for a deep sea tailings placement instead.

See also:

2020-09-30 UN increasingly concerned about mining impacts since the pandemic

2019-06-20 Papua New Guinea: fresh mining venture vociferously opposed

Tailings proposal rejected

The National -

11 November 2020 

THE West Sepik government has rejected a proposal by the developer of the Frieda River project to build a tailings dam at the headwaters of the Sepik River, administrator Conrad Tilau says.

PanAust is the developer of the US$7 billion (K24.4bil) Frieda River project which is expected to create 4,000 jobs and opportunities.

Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) managing director Jerry Garry told The National last month that the Government was still waiting for PanAust on its proposal for the Frieda River project. Garry said that a dam was not an option.

“We have rejected the developer’s environment plan and so they have to opt for another tailings disposal proposal such as deep sea tailings placement (DSTP),” Tilau said.

“We discovered that the developer’s environment report is not environment-friendly and the mine, when in operation, will greatly affect the people and the environment.”

Tilau said yesterday that the developer gave them their environmental report seeking their support to push for the mine to be constructed.

“We engaged an environmental and mining consultant to review the developer’s report and our consultant discovered that there was no proper report about the geophysical layout of the area to determine if it was an earthquake zone,” he said.

“There are no relocation plan and who would fund the relocation of villages to be affected by the mine?”

Tilau said the report had no baseline data for the environment impact statement.

“There was no proper data collection as some data was not accurate so there was no substances to convince us in the report that the environment will not be affected. The developer’s report was more like a cut and paste research,” he said.

Tilau said the provincial government would not give their report for rejecting the developer’s environment plan to the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority.

“The developer wants their wharf to be at Vanimo but we want their wharf to be at Sera in Aitape because Vanimo will be an industrial and tourism park,” he said. “But the developer refused to listen to us because they still want to put their export facilities in Vanimo town.”


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