14 Nov 2008

Developers pushing Ramu marine disposal plan through too quickly, says PNG NGO

2:42 pm on 14 November 2008

A Papua New Guinea NGO says a wide range of stakeholders remain wary that the plan for marine disposal of tailings from the Ramu nickel project is being pushed through without a proper environmental impact assessment.

The NGO, Alotau Environment, attended a conference in Madang last week which looked to bring together all stakeholders of the controversial Ramu nickel project.

With help from the European Union, PNG's government is looking to approve guidelines for ocean dumping of mine tailings.

However, many local landowners say they oppose the Ramu plan as international scientists claim ocean disposal has a devastating impact on the marine environment.

Alotau's Brian Brunton fears that the Ramu plan will be pushed through through without implementing proper scientific assessment.

"In PNG we are very poor at implementing... so you have to rely on the good faith of mining companies. And this is the problem. The Chinese company that is pushing the mining, its engineering has raced ahead of the environmental studies."

Brian Brunton