The Wafi-Golpu mine is a proposed copper and gold mine: if approved, it would be one of the largest copper and gold mines in the world and one of the largest ever in Papua New Guinea. The mine would be located approximately 65 kilometres south-west from the city of Lae, in the Morobe province of Papua New Guinea.
A threat to the ocean
The Australian companies running the mine are planning to dump all the mining waste, over 28 years, into the ocean.
Dumping mining waste into the sea, or ‘deep sea tailings placement’ (DSTP) isn’t allowed in most countries of the world.
Tailings are the waste product left over once a mineral has been extracted from an ore. Tailings include crushed rock, water, trace quantities of metals and chemicals used in processing.
How much mining waste will be dumped into the sea?
360 million tonnes of mining waste – or 360 billion kilograms.
Yes, that much.
Where is it up to?
So far, the mine has been granted an Environmental Permit, meaning that the companies’ DSTP proposal has been approved, but the mine is yet to be given a green light to go ahead – it still needs a Special Mining Lease from Papua New Guinea’s Mines Department.
“We do not believe that the company or the Government have gained the consent of the people of the Huon Gulf to dump mine waste in their sea waters. The Government should stop pushing this project through at once.”
- MR PETER BOSIP, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND COMMUNITY RIGHTS INC (CELCOR)