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Papua New Guinea Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) investigations have confirmed that 200,000 litres of raw slurry had actually overflowed from one of the company’s surge tanks within the Basamuk plant site.
Minister for Environment Geoffery Kama said this when presenting his ministerial statement on the Basamuk plant slurry spill incident in Parliament.
“Sixty per cent was captured within the bund and emergency ponds, and drainage within the plant site, 40 per cent escaped via the drainage into the sea off the Basamku Bay, 80,000 litres of raw slurry that caused the discoloration of the sea water that continued for two days,” Kama said.
“The discoloration cleared up and the sea water in the Bay was visibly clear on the third day.
“The results from the samples show that no major interference or impacts on the seawater composition at the bay and nearby marine areas.”
Kama declared the area safe for swimming and recreational purposes.
However, precautionary measures must be taken, he said.
“The Basamuk Bay people must refrain from catching and eating fish from the Basamuk Bay now and for the next four and six weeks as CEPA is yet to establish if there is any residues of heavy metals contamination through food chain in the fish around the bay.”
Speaking on the independent study endorsed by the Madang provincial government, Kama said that CEPA as the regulator has not been formally informed of such an independent study by the Madang provincial government.
“I want to see the provincial government and the national government working together and not working in isolation.”
Meanwhile,Prime Minister James Marape says investigations into Ramu Nickel Mine slurry spill at Basamuk Bay in Madang will continue.
He said this after a lengthy and heated debate in Parliament after a report on the 24 August, 2019, incident was presented by Environment and Conservation and Climate Change Minister Geoffrey Kama.
“I note most Members of Parliament have a conversation to make in regards to this ministerial statement presented,” Marape said.
“As indicated by the minister, there’ll be further assessment and investigation.
“Every stakeholder, including the Governor for Madang (Peter Yama), has every right to have an interest in this matter.
“When matters relate to the security of our people, the interest of our people, and matters relating to the environment, it is just and responsible that we all have a concern.
“We note the concern that was raised by every Member of Parliament, especially the Governor for Madang and Member for Rai Coast (Peter Sapia) in the immediate precinct and affected areas.
“We are grateful for the comments by every leader this afternoon, in response to the statement minister has made.”
Marape said Northern Governor Gary Juffa had made a strong statement, as well as Kompiam-Ambum MP and former Environment and Conservation Minister, Sir John Pundari.
“Every other statement is also correct, finding the right balance,” he said.
“Our harvest of resources comes from the price on our environment.
“We’ve allowed those investors to come in, but the investors who come in must operate within responsibility and due care to our environment, to our country, and to our people.
“I think from the outset, without the specifics on the impact on the environment, the fact that there was a practical defect in the structure of the mine itself is an incident that warrants deeper study into what was taking place, in as far as the mine safety and operation is concerned.
“Cabinet did indicate this to the minister, and I note that minister’s statement embraces further investigation, further assessment.
“Let me assure people of Madang, people of Rai Coast, people of Usino-Bundi and people of this country, that this report and the investigation thus far is not conclusive and that is not the end of the story.
“The fact that there was a slip, which took place in the mine infrastructure, irrespective of the extent of the damage, warrants deeper scrutiny, deeper investigation, deeper assessment.”
Marape assured the people of Madang, Usino-Bundi, Rai Coast, as well as the country, that all stakeholders including Madang government, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA), Mining Department and other Government agencies would look deeper into what had happened.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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