By Watut Reporter.
Minister for Environment and Conservation Hon Benny Allen, MP anounced the formation of the Inter-Agency Environmental Advisory Committee(IAEAC), as it has already met and held its first meetings on O9th of June 2011. In that meeting, a formal visit of the State Team into Morobe Province and Hidden Valley Mine is schedule from 11th -15th of July 2011. The visit will be consistent with National Governments commitments made to address issues arising from the operation of the Hidden Valley Mine.
On 12th of May 2011, a consultation meeting with various stake holders including executives of the Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC) Association Inc raises many of these which one of them was the release of the findings of the audit report by the Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation (SMEC) entitled "Environment Performance Audit of Hidden Valley Gold Mine and Assesment of Downstream Impacts of Mine Derived Sediment".
The exercise will engage various stake holders and creat awareness relating to the issues highlighted in the Audit Report by SMEC especially in relation to environmental management issues, impacts of mine derived sediment on biodiversity, human health, food security/safety and other related concerns expressed by the communities.
Mr Allan also mantion that Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV) has responded positively to the findings of the Audit Report by implementing a comprehensive program of work. These work programs were contained in the Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) submitted by MMJV, which was approved by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) in April 2011.
The Minister also stresses that Hidden Valley EIP will be assessed and evaluated by DEC assistance from Environmental Auditors to ensure that important issues raised in the Audit Report and addressed accordingly. The IAEAC will also have opportunity to oversee implementation of this program when they visit the mine site.
The Tentitive Program for IAEAC engagement commencing on 12th July to 16th July 2011 includes;
session briefing with Morobe Provincial Government and MMJV, Workshop engagement with stake holders, visit Hidden Valley Mine Presenting Police Vehicle and engagement with impacted communities. The hosting responsibilities will include Morobe Governor Luther Wenge, DEC, MMJV, MRA and Hon Sam Basil.