Ramu mine ‘gets it right’

Caption: Luluaki talking to the Basamuk village (Picture Courtesy of Mathew Yakai)


Ramu NiCo has met all the government criteria and guidelines set by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) for the DSTP and it is proven to be the safest, compared with other disposal options, says a company statement.

Gabriel Luluaki, Environment Officer from the department, confirmed this during the May 12 to 14 DSTP (Deep Sea Tailing Placement) awareness at the Basamuk in the Rai Coast District of Madang Province, the Ramu NiCo statement said.

The awareness is in compliance with the National Court Order of July 26, 2011 that Ramu Nico, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, and the Director of Environment under the DEC shall conduct awareness on DSTP every quarterly. This year’s awareness covered villages including Mindre, Ganglau and Tugiak villages around the Basamuk Refinery.

During the awareness Luluaki said the National Government through the DEC is confident DSTP will not have any impact on the marine lives since the official production.

Ramu NiCo management (MCC) Ltd also says that DSTP has proven successful as expected according to the preliminary report and an official report will be delivered soon after an independent consultant engaged releases the findings.

Luluaki said that Ramu NiCo had met all the DSTP criteria including the completion of a baseline study, the slope of tailing disposal at 16 degree (DEC criteria at 12), Ramu is gravity feed, the tailing discharge pipe at 150m (DEC criteria at more than 120m), Vitiaz Basin is capable of containing all tailings and a recent marine study confirmed that no upwelling is experienced, Ramu NiCo said.

“This waste disposal method has been used in other mines like Lihir and has proven to be working,” Luluaki was reported to have said.

He said if land based disposal was used then a high potential for impact on recreation, wild life and surface ground water was imminent.

Meanwhile, Ramu NiCo’s significant findings is that there are reasonably high densities of small bottom living animals (macro fauna and meiofauna) that live in or on the sea bed at two sites 100 percent covered by thin layers of tailings and indicates that the tailing solids are non-toxic to the fauna and that the animals can live in close proximity to the tailings.

This is based on a marine survey conducted last year. The first phase was in March 2013 on fish and coral reef survey and upwelling survey, phase two was in November 2013 covering marine water characterisation, deep ocean sediment and biota (macro and meiofauna) and subsurface plume survey. The final phase three was conducted in December 2013 on seabed classification. The survey was conducted by Ian Hargreaves & Associates Ltd from Australia.

Ramu NiCo said: “The DSTP system (Deep Seas Tailing Placement) which has proven to be successful, is being engineered and constructed by Brass-Resan, an American-Canadian Joint Venture contractor with vast experience in engineering, procurement and construction of DSTP facilities for international resources projects.

“Based on extensive studies conducted, and the high quality engineering and construction work, Ramu NiCo is confident the DSTP provides the project with the best option for mitigating the environmental impacts of tailing discharge.

“Under our Operational Environment Management Plan, (OEMP), we are also committed to implementing a range of rigorous monitoring programs in the operational stage to ensure we continuously meet the requirements under our Environment Permit,” Ramu NiCo’s official sustainability report stated.