Dangerous chemicals being smuggled into area: Residents

People engaged in alluvial mining in Bougainville, especially in Torokina, are advised to be extra careful when dealing with chemicals such as cyanide and mercury.

This advice follows claims by residents that dangerous chemicals are being smuggled into the mining area.

Miner Martin Deforest Nilee told Loop PNG: “Some people are now trading these chemicals for gold and a lot of miners also need these chemicals and are giving away gold for it”.

“The thing we’re concerned about is the threat to human lives and also the environment. What will happen to the ecosystem, the fish and prawns, our daily food from rivers and creeks? Most of these chemicals are being used upstream,” he claims.

“We’re now appealing to the government to send an assessment team to come and check our rivers and creeks here, we need to know if we’re safe or not.”

Nilee suggests that with all the revenue generated from gold, miners should contribute and hire experts to train them on how to use these chemicals and how to do quality alluvial mining.

“We mustn’t be blinded by money and forget our safety,” says the local miner.

“We need to think safety first.”

(A local doing alluvial mining.)

Peterson Tseraha