13 Jun 2011

PNG's New Ireland raises renewed concern at impact of sea dumping of mine tailings

1:43 pm on 13 June 2011

The Director of Mining in Papua New Guinea's New Ireland province says the country needs legislation to regulate the practice of marine disposal of mine tailings.

The call from Mesulam Sumlin is the latest expression of concern from New Ireland's provincial government over mining operations in the province.

Mr Sumlin says the province remains frustrated at a lack of consultation by developer Newcrest over its plans to upgrade production at the Lihir gold mine.

He says this adds to concern at the environmental impact of Lihir's marine tailings system, a practice which has no legal guidelines in PNG.

"We are simply telling the government, you have got to legislate for the deep sea tailings placement system. It's now increasing. They're doing it at Ramu, they did it at Misima, they're doing it at Lihir, they're doing it on Simberi. And you know Simberi is just a sister island off Lihir, and you've got two mines doing this tailing displacement at sea. There's already bleaching to the coral reefs."

Mesulam Sumlin