Press Release: PWM lends support for Sam Basil stand

Press Release: Released at 10 AM, Thur 20/01/11, BTA Office, Waigani, NCD

NATIONAL Environment and community development NGO, Partners with Melanesians affirmed their support for Bulolo MP Sam Basil who took the court injunction against Morobe Mining Joint Venture for environmental pollution of the Watut River.

They follow in support of Basil’s call for people with personal and ulterior motives to cease from obstructing him in his constitutional right to speak up for the people that he has been mandated to represent. If more than 100 sensible and thinking leaders support Mr Basil’s move then those selfish and greedy leaders who are obstructing Mr Basil should be ashamed and refrain from obstructing Mr Basil and his lawyers.

What’s happening along the Watut River is a clear indication of the beginning of many big things to come. We do not have to look far to see evidence of such impacts on the natural environmental and its people. The most notable ones include Tolukuma, Ok Tedi and the Jaba River in Panguna, Bougainville.

After 27 years experience of working with the rural village communities of Papua New Guinea, PWM knows full well the impacts of such extractive industries on their livelihood, especially mining.

The more than 18000 people living in the Managalas Plateau within the Afore Sub-district of the Oro Province have strongly objected to logging, forestry, mining and oil palm extension. MRA and the Department of Mining and Petroleum have issued three (3) exploration licenses to an Australian mining company, Gold Minex for a mining lease covering the entire Managalas Plateau which was done without a proper consultation process. However the 152 clan groups of the Managalas Plateau stand firm objecting mining exploration on their land.

It is important that the land owners of PNG need to know about the negative impacts of such destructive activities, which among others include, soil and water pollution, loss of land and biodiversity, skin disease and other health related issues, as well as the deterioration of the social and cultural fabric of those societies living within the vicinity of mine sites throughout PNG.

Successive governments over the years have failed to not only educate these landowners but have denied them the right to a safer and healthier future through sustainable management and use of their natural resources.

Mr. Kenn Mondiai
Executive Director – Partners with Melanesians, Inc.

[ Partners with Melanesians is a member of The Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum ]

If this is not pollution then what is, Mr Allen*?

photo courtesy of Hon Sam Basil 2010

 *Mr Benny Allen is the Minister for Environment & Conservation (at the time of this post).

4 thoughts on “Press Release: PWM lends support for Sam Basil stand

  1. Reply
    Papu - January 21, 2011

    C’mon People. Stop the deceit and be truthful! This picture was taken 4 years ago!!! Nothing like that anymore and a whole lot more improvement since this photo was first taken.

    1. Reply
      dreamzmedia - January 23, 2011

      Pictures aside, my good friend, the fact of the matter remains that there is pollution to the extent that people living along the length of this River can no longer consider it safe any more to either fish or drink from it. If you require more information on this issue then you can go to the links below and read up more on it.

      Another fact you should know is that the Watut River is a tributary of the Markham River and empties into the Huon Gulf. I do not have the exact statistics on the number of people living along this waterway and depend on it for their survival. But it gives a good idea as to how many rural Papua New Guineans are going to be affected by this. And I haven’t even touched on its impact on the biodiversity of this region and the sea.

      And if you think this photo is not a good representation of the reality of the situation, let me direct you to more images, especially of the die back along the lower Watut as a direct result of the mining activities upstream.

    2. Reply
      pwmpng - January 24, 2011

      Also check out this report by Ash Pemberton: Papua New Guinea: Mine owners try to silence critics
      Furthermore, read Sam Basil’s letter to the Minister for Environment and Conservation
      This goes to show how the MMJV has tried to supress the voice of the people and why Hon Sam Basil has embarked on this course of action. All after exhausting all other available avenues, especially through the offices instituted by the government of the country who are supposed to look out for the interests of the people FIRST and not to protect the interests of foreign owned multinationals who are only driven by nothing but profit motives.
      The crux of the matter is to get them (MMJV, and any other mining company for that matter) to be more responsible in their mining so that the lives of our people are not adversly impacted now or in the long run.

  2. Reply
    Sam Basil - January 23, 2011

    The photo above clearly shows how the side casted materials from the Hidden Valley Mine were washed out into the Watut River System which runs from Bulolo Electorate into the Huon Gulf Electorate.

    The photos can be a few years old but are directly linked to the sediments now being deposited on the Watut Banks – Now can somebody please help by telling us on how to reverse the effects? I am sure we won’t all have answers to that question because the operators of Ok Tedi also cannot answer this particular question but have left a precedent for others to follow.

    Wafi Mine is now bigger than the Ok Tedi Mine and if the current operators are not responsible enough on how to manage their rubbish from the HV Mine then just imagine the environmental damages that can come from Wafi wastes.

    (The operator always refer to Hidden Valley as the appetizer and the Wafi Mine as the main course)

    All we are asking from the operators is for them to be a Responsible Miner sorry that we have to take the matter to court because our Government & it’s agencies (Mining, MRA & DEC) are incapable to so.

    S. Basil

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