Pangu hosts deep sea tailings workshop

Members of Parliament have been challenged to seriously consider the sensitive issues surrounding deep sea tailings disposal and the impact it has on the submarine ecosystem and communities in the area.

Pangu Pati’s Leader Sam Basil and Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu have been commended for organising an interactive dialogue on deep sea tailings disposal: The Basamuk Experience & Implications for Huon Gulf.

Speakers at the session were from Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture led by the company’s head of external affairs, David Wissink, Dr Grant Batterham and David Gwyther, who presented preliminary research findings arguing the safety of submarine disposal of tailings.

In contrast, UPNG marine biologist Professor Ralph Mana was there to present findings of marine life, including discovery of new species which could be endangered with deep sea disposal of tailings.

Basil, who is also Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy, said “We need extractive industries to bring in the revenue necessary to drive the infrastructure, utilities and social services for the people at the same time, a need to protect the people and the environment for generations to come.

“Education and knowledge is the focus here. The more MPs like me and my colleagues know, the better our decision can be for our country.

““This workshop is to create dialogue on the balancing act between our marine biodiversity and the need for economic development through extractive industries like mining,” he added.

Pangu has seven MPs from the Morobe Province where the Wafi-Golpu Project is located.

Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture’s Wissink commended the Pangu Pati Leader’s initiative, saying it was good to see MPs engage with the people on important issues.

(An example of tailings spilling into rivers in Madang Province – Picture: Act Now!)

Sophie Yaruso