There are many reasons why we need to stop deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) in the Huon Gulf. Here are just some of them:
There has been no consent
Coastal communities have not provided their consent to the companies’ proposals to dump mining waste into the ocean. The Church is based in almost every village along the Huon Gulf coastline, and knows that communities have not been adequately informed or given approval to DSTP.
The sea is essential for life
~400,000+ people live along the Huon Gulf coastline and depend on it for their livelihood and income. The sea is also an important part of their culture and identity. If marine ecosystems are damaged, people will not be able to fish, they will be unable to support their families, and there will be less food on their tables.
People’s health is at risk
The tailings include arsenic, lead, manganese and mercury, among other heavy metals. These could be absorbed into the food chain and impact upon people’s health. Chemicals used to process the mining ore may also be dumped into the ocean – many of which are toxic to marine life and can impact upon people’s health.
Science is still catching up
The long-term impacts of DSTP are still being studied and understood. What we do know is that DSTP is allowed by only a few countries in the world, and that the impacts of DSTP last for decades.
Lack of certainty about accuracy of modelling
It is clear that already there are serious questions about the accuracy of Newcrest and Harmony Gold’s modelling of where tailings could go. The science needs to be far more certain, as thousands of people’s futures are banking on it.
Future generations are counting on us
Future generations need us to stand up to protect their environment and their future. The ocean will be essential to their life too. If DSTP goes ahead, they could be left with an ocean that is poisoned with heavy metals, that makes people sick, where ecosystems are damaged and where people cannot earn their livelihood. That is not a future we would wish on anyone.
What we want
We want the companies involved, Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold, to abandon their plan to dump mining waste into the Huon Gulf, and to detail alternative solutions for disposing of their mining waste that will not harm communities or the environment.
“We are building people power. We are demonstrating that the lives of people are important and the government and companies have to listen to us. They need to see that the people are concerned about the ocean.”
– LAE LUTHERAN YOUTH ORGANISER