Govt sanctions Basamuk probe

A Government-sanctioned investigation into the Basamuk slurry spill in Madang will be undertaken using a highly integrated multi-disciplinary study approach.

Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori said the objective now is to obtain all necessary information and data for a well-informed decision to be made regarding the spill.

Mori said an initial investigation done by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) indicated no pollution but because of the widespread outcry and a conflicting report by an investigation done by Dr Alex Mojon, engaged by the Madang provincial government, the Government has taken a further step to address the issue.

Mori made these remarks before leaving PNG for the global climate change conference, the Conference of Parties (COP) 25 in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday.

He said Cabinet has already given approval for a comprehensive investigation and BMT Eastern Australia Pty Ltd was contracted to support the investigation as it is a leading international multi-disciplinary engineering, science and technology consultancy firm.

“The Water and Environment Group of BMT is recognised as one of Australia’s premier environmental consultants and they operate across the five continents in over 30 countries. We are getting them on board so that there is credibility in the investigation that will be conducted. It will be extensive and with support from our CEPA technical officers, they have already conducted the first phase, which is the reconnaissance trip or sampling plan trip.

The second trip is sampling plan implementation or sampling and this will be done after the New Year where all parties will be involved, including representatives from the Madang Provincial Government, so that samplings are done accurately and not compromised.

He said all parties, including independent investigators, experts and a team from the Madang Provincial Government, will also be part of the sampling.

“The sampling will be done properly and extensively and transparently so it covers all the possibilities and areas concerned.”

He stated that the sample will be tested in Australia, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization laboratory, and the results with recommendations and final report be presented to government for deliberations.

Freddy Mou