Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dumping System Harmful

Post Courier
News Monday 05th July, 2010
Dumping system ‘harmful’

The approved permit given to the Ramu Nico (MCC) Management Limited for coral blasting to construct the deep sea tailing placement system (DSTPS) was made without proper assessment of the potential risks to the environment, a court was told on Friday.

This showed that the Government had failed to properly assess the impacts of whether this course of dumping of mine waste is harmful and will interfere with the eco-biological fish and fauna life in the waters at the mine site.
These were some of the arguments put by landowners and landowner groups around the project site who are fighting for a permanent injunction against MCC’s proposed mine dumping plan and its construction.

The landowners also argue that the permit does not authorise the environmental harm that will be caused by dumping the mine waste in the sea, and that so far there have been breaches in some of the conditions of the permit in which MCC has failed to follow to the letter as to no septic tanks constructed for its workers and no proper drainage systems on the project site to remove human waste which is being dumped straight into the sea, untreated.

Tiffany Nonggorr for the landowners argued that if MCC could not follow these simple conditions, how could it monitor the dumping of tonnes of mine waste into the sea. Mrs Nonggorr submitted that DEC also neglected to monitor these simple permit conditions, and the landowners failed to see how it could monitor the mine waste being dumped into the sea. She also argued that there were scientific research reports that showed such proposed tailing dumping would cause harm to the environment and the lifestyle of the local people.

She urged the court to look at the issue of harm being unlawful, not the fact whether the permit approving the dumping was lawful or unlawful. She said there was no evidence of further research on this issue before DEC approved the permit.

MCC argues the permit was approved and there was no serious issue for the matter to linger in court. MCC submitted that the DSTPS was the best option of mine waste dumping after looking at all other dumping systems. MCC told the court that Mrs Nonggorr had “glossed” over the facts, making them “quite laughable” and that there was evidence of further research which showed there will be no harmful risks imposed using this proposed system. MCC stated that acid used in the mining process that will be dumped is “deactivated” and “so it is nonsense that tailings discharged in the sea is harmful”.

While the Supreme Court considers whether or not to permanently extend the interim injunction, the issue raised by the landowners is yet to be heard in a substantive trial before the National Court.

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