Saturday, April 23, 2011

DEC failing to regulate the mining industry, says Basil.

By Watut Reporter.

MP Sam Basil has criticized the Department of Conservation (DEC) for failing to
regulate the mining industry in Papua New Guinea and ensure its operations are
environmentally safe.
"DEC has a responsibility on behalf of the Nation to ensure that mining operations
are safe and will not damage the environment. Yet time after time the mines end up
causing massive problems while DEC sits by and watches", says the MP.
"We have already had massive pollution from Bougainville, Ok Tedi, Tolukuma and
Porgera mines and sadly now it is the same with the Hidden Valley project. The PNG
Government through DEC is telling the world that mining with pollution is normal in
PNG and the people must accept that fact".
Mr Basil has recently filed legal proceedings against the Hidden Valley mine in his
constituency over its pollution of the Watut river.
"It is not good enough for Minister Benny Allen to say DEC received an
environmental audit report on the Hidden Valley mine in May this year and will be
working on an environmental improvement plan."
If the Minister's sponsored report audit says the river is safe then I will invite the
minister to Watut River to consume a litre of Watut River to prove to me that the
rivers is safe.
"Where is the report? Why have I not been given a copy? Why don't the landowners
who are suffering the impacts of the pollution have a copy? Is DEC trying to cover
up things for the mining company? The report should be released immediately".
Mr Basil says DEC should also explain why it gave the Hidden Valley mine an
environmental permit in the first place and how it is the company was able to pollute
the Watut river without DEC noticing anything was wrong.
"DEC, like MRA, is supposed to be protecting landowners and our environment,
not facilitating mining on the cheap".
Mr Basil says he has instructed his lawyers to look into whether DEC and the
Minister could be legally held liable for the damage the mine has caused.

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