5 Jun 2008

Ramu Nickel project in PNG faced with environmental problems

1:47 pm on 5 June 2008

The Governor of Papua New Guinea's Madang province expects environmental concerns to be addressed before any further progress in construction of the Ramu Nickel Mine.

Work on the 955 million US dollar mine being built by China Metallurgical Construction Corporation, or MCC, is being opposed by landowners who are against a plan to pump waste into Astrolabe Bay, known as a tourism attraction for divers.

Last week, the provincial government unanimously passed a resolution to cease all contact with MCC until a detailed environmental plan had been approved.

The Governor, Sir Arnold Amet, says a formal review of the project began last week, but landowners withdrew co-operation, prompting the mining minister to defer the review for a month.

"MCC has submitted an amendment that we would like to see the terms of, that government has approved as well. So approvals were granted by government so we just want to now be thoroughly informed in relation to those and get some independent sense of the safetyness of the proposed tailings deposit into the sea."

Sir Arnold Amet