International Conference on Deep-Sea Mine Tailings Placement (DSTP): Madang 4th – 7th November, 2008
I recently published a post regarding an independent evaluation of Deep-Sea Mine Tailings Placement (DSTP) in Papua New Guinea which was being funded by the European Union and conducted by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).
There is a continuing global need for mineral resources but environmental issues associated with their extraction are receiving greater attention throughout the world. The challenge, therefore, is to develop the best mining practices and technologies while minimising the environmental impact of mining operations.
One of these issues is waste disposal which is an important operational and environmental issue, particularly the deep sea disposal of mine tailings which remains a controversial option.
Therefore, it was interesting to read an article in The National today that Lihir Gold Ltd has formally announced in its 2007 Sustainability Report that DSTP remains the best option available in disposing mine tailings from its mine.
The company undertook an independent (organisation unnamed) scientific marine assessment programme worth A$1 million (K2.2 million) on the impact of DSTP and said in its 2007 Sustainability Report:
“We have sought independent advice and investigated the full spectrum of alternatives available to us; however DSTP remains the most viable option”.
Last year the gold miner released 4.9 million tonnes of process plant discharge via a pipeline to the ocean floor at depths exceeding 1,500m.
The conference will present and discuss all aspects of recent work commissioned by the Department of National Planning and Monitoring, Papua New Guinea (PNG) on the disposal of mine tailings in the deep sea. The SAMS’ report findings will also be presented and made publicly available at the conference.
The main aim of the conference is to get international scientists and key stakeholders such as PNG Government Agencies, NGO’s, mining industry, and landowner representatives together to disseminate and discuss the results of the following issues:
- a review of environmental performance of DSTP practice
- a review of environmental monitoring results undertaken at mine sites using DSTP
- presentation of independent environmental investigations at Lihir and Misima Islands in 2007
- guidelines and criteria for future DSTP practice in PNG