23 Feb 2012

Morobe community upset over PNG assessment of fish deaths

3:32 pm on 23 February 2012

The people of Labu in Papua New Guinea's Morobe Province are upset at a government assessment that the Hidden Valley Gold Mine is not responsible for a build-up of dead fish in local rivers.

The Department of Environment and Conservation sent a team to Morobe after protests from the Labu people about losing their source of food and livelihood.

The Labu community believes discharge from the mine is to blame.

Our correspondent Oseah Philemon says the two-man team's assessment came after a whirlwind aerial inspection of the area from a helicopter chartered by the Mine's operators:

"I just came from a meeting of the Labu leaders and they've very unhappy with the Department. They say the Department has failed to do its job of ensuring proper tests are done. Anything like this, the Minister should order proper tests to be carried out to get down to the bottom of it. The people are saying also that the Minister and the Department are too close to the Morobe Mining so they cannot speak for the little people."

Oseah Philemon