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Port Moresby
February 29, 2020
Health News

Basamuk Ordered To Shut Down

After weeks of debate surrounding the chemical spill at the Chinese owned  Basamuk Nickel Refinery in Madang, the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) has ordered the company  to shut down its operations.

The order was announced yesterday with the closure effective on Monday 21st of October.

In a statement released today, the MRA said  The company was ordered to stop its  operations because it has failed to comply with the authority’s recommendations and  fix defects identified during the MRA’s investigations into the slurry spill in August.
“The defects identified during the investigations among others were as follows:
1. Incompetency of operators.
2. Inadequate bund capacity.
3. Inadequate spillage containment system.
4.Inadequate maintenance of instrumentation and machines among others.
“The resumption of operations will depend upon the successful completion of the remedial works.”
The MRA investigation found that  “on 24th August, slurry from the surge tank overflowed during the process startup after a maintenance shutdown. Some of the slurry went into the two ponds that were built to cater for such events, however; some of it went into the sea.”
The MRA found that the spill was due to a digital process systems failure to start the pumps at the surge tank area.
The investigation also  revealed several defects and recommendations were made to the company to have them fixed. Those recommendations were not complied with.
The spill prompted the Madang Provincial government to  initiate its own investigations headed by Swiss scientist, Alex Mojon,  whose initial findings showed that there were unacceptable levels of contamination in the Basamuk  Bay.

Environmental Specialist Dr Alex Mojon, assessing the spillage, reported alarming levels of toxic contamination. 

Those findings have been refuted by the Ramu Nico company management saying the finding are not independent.

By Scott Waide, EMTV News, Lae

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