18 Apr 2008

Concerns about environmental issues over PNG nickel smelter

9:55 am on 18 April 2008

There have been calls from two quarters for the Papua New Guinea Government to ensure waste from the huge Chinese funded Ramu nickel smelter is not dumped in the environmentally important Basamuk Bay.

Both the Parliamentary Opposition and the Catholic Bishops' Conference say the dumping cannot be allowed.

Our correspondent in PNG, Oseah Philemon, says a key concern is the damage that could be done to what is one of the most important fishing grounds in the country.

He says the Basamuk Bay is a key source of fish for the Madang cannery which sends much of its product to Europe.

"The concern is that if the Europeans learn of any environmental damage to the marine life in Magang as the result of the dumping of tailings from the Ramu nickel projects, it could seriously affect PNG's exports to Europe. And that also means a very serious impact on the tuna industry and fishing as a whole in Papua New Guinea."