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Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Geoffrey Kama has informed stakeholders that his Ministry and the Department of Environment and Climate Change will strictly follow the existing laws to discipline any mining companies in breach of any laws governing the mining industry and there are no short cuts in shutting down the mines.
Mr Kama said this when meeting with the Basamuk landowners on Sunday last week at Basamuk Refinery in the Rai Coast District of Madang province.
He went to have an independent assessment on the Refinery’s’ Saturday Aug 24 slurry spill into the Basamuk harbour.
His senior officers including Managing Director of CEPA, Gunther Joku and deputy managing director, Michael Maue including Madang Governor Peter Yama accompanied him to Basamuk.
Ramu NiCo President Gao Yongxue and his vice president Wang Baowen received the minister and his delegation in Madang and accompanied them to Basamuk.
This is the second visit of a senior state minister after Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke who visited Basamuk Refinery for an independent assessment on Tuesday Aug 27 in his capacity as the Mining Minister.
The Environment Ministers visit follows after his chief investigators from CEPA, Lave Michael, Joseph Umare and Robert Sine, Manager Mining with MRA were on the ground at Basamuk on Monday Aug 26 to conduct an investigation into the slurry spill.
Kama told the principal Basamuk landowners that Marape-Stevens government will not go ahead and shut down Ramu NiCo Project or Basamuk Refinery as demanded but will strictly follow the laws so that all parties are given fair treatment.
The minister’s call came after the landowners demanded that Basamuk Refinery be closed following the slurry discharge and other outstanding matters including socio-economic benefits.
Last week, Member for Rai Coast, Peter Sapia, Madang Governor Peter Yama and the landowners demanded for the closure of Ramu NiCo Project.
But Mr Kama said investigation into the alleged slurry spill is still underway by the Mines Inspector and Mines Inspectorate alone has the power to shut down the mine and not him.