12 Jun 2014

NGO says PNG no guinea pig

7:39 pm on 12 June 2014

An environmental non government organisation in New Caledonia says the conditions given to the Vale nickel processing plant on its re-opening are not enough to protect the environment.

The government of the southern province has said the Goro plant can reopen if safety standards are improved, after an acid spill prompted its suspension almost six weeks ago.

It is the sixth spill since 2009.

The WWF New Caledonia manager, Hubert Geraux, says the conditions relate to ensuring there is not another acid spill, but do not take into account the risk of ongoing environmental damage caused by the plant.

We know that there are other risks of pollution, from the residue storage basins, with the ramsar zone close to the mining site. There are already some effects on some forest and sub-forests close to the work site. What what we ask really, is the re-think of Vale project's risk management, for all the risks.

Hubert Geraux says environmental groups are waiting to have a meeting with Vale and the government of the southern province to raise their concerns.