10 Oct 2023

Mining company forced to consult with PNG environmentalists

From , 6:01 am on 10 October 2023
Frieda River heading north to join the Sepik River.

Frieda River heading north to join the Sepik River. Photo: Facebook - SEPIK Capital, PNG - Wewak Urban Local Level Government

Environmental activists in a remote part of Papua New Guinea are celebrating, with the company behind a proposed copper and gold mine forced to consult with them.

Project Sepik with the assistance of advocacy group, Jubilee Australia, two years ago complained to an Australian government-sponsored independent body set up to resolve complaints made against multinationals, about plans for the huge mine on the Frieda River, a tributary of the Sepik River. 
They alleged that the Australian based, Chinese owned miner, Pan Aust, had failed to gain the free, prior and informed consent of communities who live along the Sepik River; failed to adequately assess and mitigate environmental risks; and inadequately disclosed key information affecting the communities. 
The Australian National Contact Point on Responsible Business Conduct found that the company would need to have prior consent from certain groups, which could include Project Sepik and Jubilee Australia.

RNZ Pacific's Don Wiseman spoke with Emmanuel Peni, the Project Sepik program coordinator and the organisation's executive director, Mary Boni about the decision.