24 Mar 2007

Calls for PNG govt to review tailing systems for mines

11:35 am on 24 March 2007

Papua New Guinea's Centre for Environmental Research and Development has called on the government to review the tailing systems of the country's mines.

The call comes after a recent study found that high levels of toxic metals have been found in the blood samples of people living along the local rivers near Tolukuma mine run by Emperor Mines.

Locals who wash, drink and fish in the river are at risk of a range of illnesses because of the mine operator's system of dumping the toxic waste directly into the river.

However the government says that for old mines like Tolukuma there are few viable alternatives to this system.

But the Centre's Matilda Koma says PNG needs to stop and consider the devastation this system is causing:

"Our government especially to seriously look at these issues because you say that it's impossible to actually have some treatment methodology established to control this waste before it actually impacts on the river system, but where else in the world apart from Freeport in Papua are these things happening? We have all the mines discharging directly into our rivers and oceans."

Matilda Koma.