PAPUA New Guinea’s Environmental and Conservation Minister John Pundari is reportedly impressed with the Hidden Valley mine’s tailings storage facility (TSF), which is the newest in the country.
The TSF at Hidden Valley. Image courtesy of Harmony Gold.
According to the Post-Courier, he said Hidden Valley was a “responsible mine” after his recent tour of the gold and silver operation, which included visiting the TSF.
“The constitution clearly states that our environment and our natural resources are used for the collective good of all of our people, but that we protect it and replenish it also for our future generation,” Pundari reportedly said.
“My visit to (Hidden Valley) impresses me so much in the way the developer conducts itself. I’m so much impressed that they are responsible in their undertakings.”
The comments are significant as the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission recently revived a 97-page issues paper relating to the management and disposal of mine tailings that was shelved in 2007.
Despite the risks presented by seismic activity and high rainfall, TSFs are becoming a more popular consideration for mining projects in PNG due to growing opposition to deepsea tailings placement and riverine tailings disposal methods.
The next edition of the PNG Report magazine will have a feature on the tailings debate in the country.
The Hidden Valley mine is 50:50 owned by Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold and is yet to ramp up to its nameplate capacity since starting production in September 2010.
Pundari was a mining minister under the Somare government before it lost power in 2011.