Locals stage latest fight against PNG mine dumping waste into sea

Locals stage latest fight against PNG mine dumping waste into sea

A coalition of more than 5,000 villagers and a provincial government in Papua New Guinea has built a legal challenge against the world’s most productive battery nickel plant. The company, Ramu NiCo, has been dumping millions of tons of mine waste into the ocean since 2012, and evidence for environmental and health impacts is accumulating. In February, the coalition sued Ramu NiCo, demanding not only that its Chinese owners pay restitution totaling 18 billion kina ($5.2 billion), but also that it stop dumping mine waste into the ocean and remediate the allegedly contaminated waters. Half a million people rely on the local fisheries in the Coral Triangle biodiversity hotspot, and the plaintiffs argue that their lives and food supply are at stake. The lawsuit appears to seek the highest environmental damages in the country’s history, and it relies on some of the biggest studies on the ocean dumping of mine waste ever conducted. “If it’s successful, it will be a landmark case, especially because no one has shot for environmental damages on such a big scale,” Ben Lomai, the lawyer representing plaintiffs in the case, told Mongabay in an interview. Getting the tailings out of the sea and cleaning up the ocean are the most important goals, he added: “At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.” Aerial view of Ramu NiCo’s plant. Ponds contain red mine tailings. Image courtesy of Alex Mojon. Ramu NiCo, majority owned by the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC), has been operating a…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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