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. Having traveled the length of the pipeline, the Minister observed that it had been built unlawfully close to the main Madang Lae highway and that spills from the pipeline already have caused temporary road closures. Critics claim that the pipeline was poorly built and has required repair in several places.
The Minister has asked environmental groups to conduct an environmental audit of the pipeline.
Cultural Survival’s campaign partners in Papua New Guinea, who tried unsuccessfully to prevent Ramu Nickel from dumping their mine tailings into the sea, are celebrating this news. Scientists and activists who oppose the Ramu project because of its environmental hazards are organizing to provide further information to the Minister.
See our original action alert for Papua New Guinea from June 2010, here.