Two Australian companies are proposing the Wafi-Golpu mine and dumping the mining waste into the ocean: Newcrest Mining, based in Melbourne, and Harmony Gold (Australia), located in Brisbane.
These companies own the two PNG companies running the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture, Newcrest PNG2 Ltd and Wafi Mining Ltd. Harmony Gold (Australia) is also an Australian subsidiary of South African mining company Harmony Gold.
“Dumping mining waste into the ocean, and over 28 years, as this proposal suggests, would never be permitted in Australia. In fact, it would not be permitted for one day. This proposal represents a gross breach of corporate social responsibility on behalf of not one but two Australian companies.”
- DR LUKE FLETCHER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUBILEE AUSTRALIA RESEARCH CENTRE
How they will do it…
A huge 130 kilometre pipeline will carry concentrate to the coast, where it will be processed. The mining waste or ‘tailings’ will be dumped into the ocean through a pipeline, less than a kilometre off the beach at Wagang, into the beautiful waters of the Huon Gulf.
Over 28 years, 360 million tonnes of mining waste will be dumped into the ocean.
The company expects that ‘most of’ the tailings will fall deep down into the sea into an underwater canyon called the Markham Canyon. However, the companies’ own scientists have admitted that approximately 40 per cent of tailings – 144 million tonnes – will end up in the water column, and not on the bottom of the ocean.
Where could the tailings go?
Scientists who have worked on an independent review of the plans have rung alarm bells, stating that tailings could spread in a 30 kilometre radius from the dumping site. Scientists are concerned that, rather than 40 per cent, as much as 90 per cent of tailings could end up in the water column, rather than on the bottom of the ocean.