Catholic society concerned with spillage approach

The Catholic Professionals Society of PNG (CPS), a professional church group, is calling on the National Government, through its responsible Minister and State agencies, to act responsibly on the slurry spillage.

They are calling on especially the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) and Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) to be responsible.

“There have been reports of at least 1 person, several turtles, dolphins and fish dead and claimed to be attributed to poisoning from the spillage, which has spilled into the Basamuk Bay area of Madang,” said president Paul Harricknen.

“These are serious allegations. There are fears among people using the seas and eating marine products from the seas. There has been confirmation by the operating company of the slurry spillage. Whether the deaths are from the impact of slurry is the main issue to be scientifically and conclusively determined.

“The Catholic Professionals Society PNG is very concerned at the level of politics being generated on the slurry spillage at Basamuk Bay and its alleged aftermath on environment, marine biology and people within the vicinity and potential impact footprints in greater Madang islands and the coastlines.

“The slurry spillage happened about late August 2019, and even up to now, our leaders are not finding time to sit together and approach the issue with a united stance.

“We are also concerned that the MRA and CEPA are not actively engaged to assist leaders find a workable way forward.

“We call on all leaders and bureaucrats involved to work together to ensure that PNG has a national position on the issue of slurry spillage and its aftermath.

“We are aware that litigation is mooted. It is a matter of right under our law.

“We only caution that our people be also assisted with options such as a negotiated settlement as was done for the environmental issue at Ok Tedi mine along the Lower Ok Tedi and Fly Rivers systems.

“There is also the precautionary option for the Government to either close the operations or restrict the extent of operations of the project pending scientific and conclusive determination and clearance of the effects and impacts of the slurry spillage.

“Catholic Professionals Society PNG will support actions intended to protect people and environment of Basamuk and Madang.”

(File picture)

Press release