22 Mar 2010

PNG NGO welcomes injunction on construction of Ramu submarine tailings pipeline

11:57 am on 22 March 2010

A resource protection group in Papua New Guinea says the government should commission a new independent environmental impact assessment on mine tailings disposal in Basamuk Bay.

This comes after the national court in Madang province ordered work to stop on the Chinese Metallurgical Construction Company's previously approved submarine tailings disposal system from the Ramu nickel mine.

The company planned to dump five million tonnes of waste a year into Basamuk Bay and was preparing to start blasting coral reefs for the pipeline to be laid.

Wences Magun from the Mas Kagin Tapani, or Guardians of the Sea organisation, has welcomed the injunction.

He says a recent feasibility study commissioned by the Lutheran Church found that the tailings system would have been detrimental to the environment.

"It's not safe for tailings to be disposed into the sea because of the currents. It's going to bring the tailings out and spread them across the Bismarck and Solomons Sea. It's going to go as far as West Papua."

Wences Magun