MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Whale dies near mine

Published by MAC on 2004-08-31

Whale dies near mine

The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea)

31 August 2004

The death of a whale close to the Misima mine site has further triggered Misima people’s concern over the flushing and discharge of sodium cyanide down the tailings line.

The whale was found dead at the Misima mine’s Lagua Camp near the Galbobo village last Friday. Environment and Conservation Minister William Duma had ordered technical officers two weeks ago to check on reports that 35 dead fish had surfaced near the tailings line.

Last week, Mr Duma released preliminary findings of the investigations, stating the authorised environmental officers were not present as required under the Misima mine’s closure plan when the incident happened.

The report showed proper reporting procedures were not followed prior to the flushing and discharge of the sodium cyanide. He said the compensation payment of K23,000 by the Misima Mines Ltd to the local people amounted to admittance of fault and liability. Misima Towoho Slung Association chairman Stanley Nigu said in a statement that the payment of K23,000 to communities for the damage done by the Misima mines showed disrespect.

“The Misima Mine Limited has shown contempt and disrespect to the island communities by paying only K23,000 to limited communities,” says Mr Nigu. He said the payment had been made without allowing for time for the damages to be assessed to determine the present and future effects it would have on the lives of the people.

Mr Nigu is alleging that the whale’s death is due to the sodium cyanide spill and called on the Environment and Conservation Minister and his Secretary to charge the mining company and compensate the island communities.

A landowner leader said the compensation level should not be in thousands of kina but in hundreds of thousands of kina.

“The company must sit down with the leaders of Misima and the province as required and agree to a more appropriate level of compensation that will take care of the effects of the future,” he said.

Mr Nigu said on behalf of the landowners of the Special Mining Lease and Mining Lease areas that Misima mine should not be allowed to leave the mine until it had completely satisfied its obligations.

“That is the obligation under the agreement that was entered with the National Government, the mine closure plan and its obligations under PNG laws and international conventions,” Mr Nigu said.


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