Riverine tailings, or the dumping of mining waste into rivers, should be banned in PNG.
This recommendation comes from the Constitutional Law Reform Commission (CLRC) who has completed a review of the environmental and mining laws relating to the disposal of tailings.
The review has been given to the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Ano Pala, and is expected to be presented in the next parliament sitting.
Dr. Kwa said the review was commissioned in 2007 but work commenced in 2013 due to change of leadership in the CLRC and concerns raised by the mining industry and other government agencies who questioned the CLRC’s role in conducting the review.
However he said he is grateful that they have been able to work closely with the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, civil society organizations and other government departments in the review.
The review covers current mine disposal techniques used by different mining projects in the country. It was commissioned following concerns raised over the impact of tailings disposal by Tolukuma mine into the Angabanga River.
Of the four mine sites scheduled to be visited, the review team was only able to visit OK Tedi and Porgera mines. They were refused entry into Lihir, Hidden Valley and the Ramu mine sites. However Dr. Kwa said they were able to speak with their representatives through the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and to visit landowner sites and the respective provincial governments.
The review, which cost the government K700,000 contains 18 recommendations, a key one is to ban all riverine tailings in the country.
Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Ano Pala, said in a statement that this comprehensive report will now enable the government to make informed decisions on tailings disposal methods and practices in the country.