Placer to be scrutinisedPublished by MAC on 2004-08-15
Placer to be scrutinised
Post Courier - Weekend Edition
13-15th August, 2004
The Government will not hesitate to hold the operator of Misima Mines Placer Dome responsible for environmental pollution on Misima Island. But the National Government will have to wait for the outcome of an investigative report being carried out by officers from the Department of Mining and the Department of Environment and Conservation.
Mining Minister Sam Akoitai said yesterday if the investigation results showed Placer Dome was careless in cleaning tanks that contained the chemical cyanide and drained the water into the sea, the company would be held responsible for its actions.
Preliminary reports say fish in Misima Island waters started dying after Misima Mine Limited workers started cleaning cyanide storage tanks.
It is understood the company has been ordered to stop cleaning the tanks so the actual cause of the fish deaths could be established.
Mr Akoitai said he was treating the matter as very serious and he would wait for results from his investigation team.
Our officers will be based to properly establish the cause of why the fish are dying, Mr Akoitai said.
We will keep the public informed of what the investigation team is doing. He said in the meantime the people on Misima Island had been advised not to eat any dead fish.
If we see that from the final investigation report that Placer Dome is responsible then we will hold the company responsible for environmental damage, he said.
But that will not be the case until we see the results by our investigation team.
Placer Dome is also carrying out its own investigations into the incident, saying they had also co-operated with the Government investigation team by flying down its own investigation teams.
The company has sent its samples of dead fish and sea water to Brisbane, Australia for further analysis.
Placer Dome is now in the clearing and cleaning stages of its Misima Mine after the mine ceased commercial operation in May.