11 Mar 2011

PNG miner says diluted tailings couldn't cause contamination at Simberi

6:48 pm on 11 March 2011

A multi national mining company operating in Papua New Guinea's New Ireland province says its staff have been happily swimming in water that local authorities say is contaminated.

Allied Gold has rejected claims that tailings from its Simberi Island mine have resulted in the deaths of marine creatures, such as turtles and dugongs, and that locals are suffering skin problems after contact with the water.

Allied Gold's Melbourne-based spokesperson, Simon Jemison, says there's been no spill, while the tailings, which are dumped in the sea, are diluted before hand.

He says there is no issue at Simberi.

"We deny that there's been any impact to the marine environment, either last week or in the weeks before that. Because of environmental monitoring and because of the nature of the tailings that go into the sea are at such a diluted level, that's in compliance with environmental law, we can't see how there can be any impact on the marine environment."