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December 9, 2019
Emergency Featured News Papua New Guinea

Basamuk slurry spill: Scientists complete investigation

A group of international scientists who were in Madang Province to conduct an independent study into a case of environmental contamination in Basamuk Bay, has completed their investigations. The team, led by Swiss Scientist, Dr. Alex Mojon, collected samples from different locations in and around Madang Province and have since taken the samples to Germany for testing and once results are ready, it will be made available.

The scientists were in Madang for a week conducting an independent study into possible contamination done to marine life by the activities of the Ramu Nico Mine at Basamuk. The team was engaged by the Madang Provincial Government following a slurry spill incident on August 24th at the Basamuk Refinery that had led to reports of fish dying due to possible contamination.

A number of meetings were held between the Madang Provincial Administration, led by Madang Governor, Peter Yama, with stakeholders, churches, non-Government organisations and the public.

Former Madang Governor, Sir Arnold Amet, who was also present at the meeting, had asked if the company, Ramu Nico, will subscribe to a joint investigation, however, the developer has turned down the invitation by the Madang Provincial Government for a joint investigation because they say the investigation was not approved by the National Government through CEPA.

Dr. Alex Mojon and his team collecting samples for testing.Dr. Alex MojonDr. Alex Mojon meeting with the Madang Provincial Government Officials and other concerned parties. Former Madang Province Governor, Sir Arnold AmetConcerned parties gathered at the meeting.Dr. Alex Mojon meeting with the Madang Provincial Government Officials and other concerned parties.

Swiss Scientist, Dr. Alex Mojon, also emphasised the importance of protecting the environment and the people who depend on it for their daily sustenance, explaining that his team had found disturbing evidence in the environment where they had collected samples from, and had taken back to Germany for testing.

“…We can work from the findings only if we work together…and I would invite MCC to corporate with us, because it is easy to talk with MCC and say here’s a problem, here’s a problem, here’s no problem…and then lets solve it, and then its done! That’s my statement as a scientist, not as a politician,” Dr. Alex Mojon said during the meeting.

Meanwhile, CEPA has engaged three independent Scientists to carry out another impact study on the spill itself, the nature and the extent of the spill. However, the impacts the waste disposal from the mine, and its impacts on the people and the environment since the mines’ inception, are not included in the scientists’ terms of reference.

“The team that I am leading now is to look at the impact of the spill itself, but I guess that will also have a relationship with the bigger study,” commented Alphonse Kambu, the independent investigation consultant.

Former Madang Governor, Sir Arnold Amet, expressed disappointment at the scope of the scientists’ investigations, saying it would be limited and useless if the study would only be focused on the spill.

“If you’re just going to be focusing on the spill, the slurry impact, what you’ve just heard being described about deformity, it was impacted before the spill and the potential impact of the deep sea deposit also. So, I would commend to you to go back and seek amendment to your TOR (terms of reference)…so its (investigation) going to be not very useful to us,” Sir Arnold Amet stated.

The investigations are now not focusing on the spill that had happened on the 24th of August. However, it is now looking at the impacts the activities the mine would have had on the people, and the environment since its inception, meaning, the impacts of the waste disposal may have had on the people and the surrounding environment.

By Martha Louis – EMTV News, Madang

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