Groups Raise Concerns To PNG Government About The Proposed Frieda River Mine Risk

Sep 28, 2020

Post Courier | National News

Monday 28 September 2020

Groups Raise Concerns To PNG Government About The Proposed Frieda River Mine Risk

The letter, which was recently released, raised ‘serious concerns’ about the human rights impacts of the project, including the rights to life, health, bodily integrity, water and food, and the right to free, prior and informed consent.

The letter also raised concerns that the people of the Sepik River ‘will be forced to bear the costs of the Project in perpetuity.’

Ten UN Special Rapporteurs, along with the UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations, have written to the PNG Government to raise their concerns about the proposed Frieda River mine and the risk of failure of its proposed tailings dam.

Emmanuel Peni, Co-ordinator of Project Sepik, said: “We are optimistic about the success of our campaign to Ban the Frieda Mine given that representatives of the United Nations have raised their concerns with the Government of Papua New Guinea.”

Mr Peter Bosip, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR) Inc. said: “The address by the Special Rapporteurs to the Government of Papua New Guinea in relation to the impact of the Frieda River gold and copper mine is very important and should be considered seriously.”

“This address shows how serious the risk posed by the Frieda River mine to the Sepik really is. Never before in this country have I come across such a powerful international statement issued before a mine has been approved or had one piece of pipeline built,” said Mr Bosip.

The letter further stated, “We remain concerned that critical information about the tailings dam, including the dam break analysis, has been made neither publicly available nor available to affected community members and human rights defenders who request it.”

Other concerns highlighted in the letter to the PNG Government included the risk of a major earthquake in the project area that could damage the tailings dam – with potential impacts that would endure for millions of years – and the risk of pollution from toxic wastes along more than 320 km of pipelines.

“It is heartening for all Sepik peoples to know that their voices have been heard, and responded to in a powerful way by the lead investigators of these issues in the world today,”  Peni said.

The letter follows an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxic Wastes, which was led in May 2020 by Project Sepik and CELCOR.


The Sepik region is one of the most culturally and biodiverse areas on the planet


Frieda River mine project one of the largest known copper and gold deposits in the world


Nominating the Sepik regions rich cultural heritage for World Heritage listing


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