By Carole Reckinger & Antoine Lemaire
By Timothy King
A decade long war in Papua New Guinea has left deep scars on Bougainville and its people. Some will never be erased, others may fade with time.
Many of the horrors experienced are unimaginable. Speaking from her hospital bed in December 1999, Cecillia recalls her treatment at the hands of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF):
In a major turn-around for the opponents of the Chinese Ramu Nickel Mine in Papua New Guinea, the Minister of Environment and Conservation ordered the company to halt work while he undertakes further studies on the environmental impacts of their tailings pipeline. The pipeline extends from the mine site in the mountains of Madang province to the coast, a distance of 134 kilometers.
On January 19, Minister for Environment in the O’Neil-Namah Government, Hon Thompson Haroquave, carried through on his promise to the people of Papua New Guinea and ensured that Parliament repealed amendments to the Environment Act that had been made in favor of the Chinese mining company, MCC.
In a vote of 2 to 1, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled that the Chinese owners of the Ramu nickel mine may dump toxic waste from their mine and refinery directly into the Bismarck Sea at Basamuk. The plaintiffs in the case were Rai Coast landowners Louis Medaing and 1083 others, representing thousands of Indigenous families whose livelihoods depend on the health of the marine ecosystem.
Papua New Guinea’s government announced that it will restore the right of landowners to challenge in court any project they feel could be detrimental to the environment. According to reports in The National The National Executive Council agreed to repeal the Environmental Amendment Act, passed by the legislature in May 2010, which denied landowners this right.
Last week, Indigenous landowners rested their appeal to Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court, asking for a permanent injunction to prevent a Chinese nickel mine from dumping toxic mine waste into the Bismarck Sea.