Climate Challenger at Lihir Island

After Kavieng, we set sail for Lihir Island a small island with a large gold mine operated by the Australian based mining company Newcrest, which at this time are also prospecting for gold on our own island of Manus.

On our way to Lihir Island, New Ireland Province.

Modern meets traditional: Manuai testing the satellite communications gear

We arrived at Lihir Island late last Thursday night (13th Sept) and were greeted with dinner made by the Manus community.

Dinner on arrival. photo: Manuai Matawai

During our stay on Lihir Island we shared our experience of climate change adaptation in Manus and performed our traditional garamut dancing at Lihir International School to coincide with 37th Papua New Guinea Independence celebration.

Manuai thankfully receives a donation at the climate change fund-raising night

On a less positive note, when the we saw the scale of the gold mine on Lihir island and the impacts it is having on the people and environment, it really hit home for us. This could soon be a reality on our own island of Manus where Newcrest is currently prospecting and proposing to open another large gold mine.

The Climate Challenger crew at the Lihir gold mine, New Ireland, PNG

When crew member Pokakes Pondraken saw the mine he commented with “It is a monster. I hope it does not happen in Manus (Worei), as it will destroy our reefs and spawning aggregation sites”.

Photo: Panoramio by user Petadel

The tailings are dumped out at sea and as you can see from this picture, there is a lot of sedimentation and runoff, which invariably affects the coral and marine life. It is a disaster for the environment. We also noticed alot of steam and gases rising out of the mine which is attributed to the geothermal activity of the volcanic island, and most probably contributes to climate change too.

Categories: Mining, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Climate Challenger at Lihir Island

  1. I need you Pere men, Manuai, Poke, Pakop Samol, Manoi Ponowan, Cholai, Pakop Pokanau and Molean Polin to remember the images you saw about the destruction and devastation caused by Newcrest dumping its cynide contaminate waste – “tailings” – into the ocean. This is precisely what I have been talking with you men about and is precisely what will occur at Manus if Newcrest be given the full go ahead to mine at Worei. If only the Lihi people knew the facts – I am certain that this mine would not have happen the way it is today. It pains me greatly to even imagine the damage this will cause to our people’s livelihood and therefore their very exsitence if Newcrest went ahead to mine at Manus – and on our very door step – the environmental damage it will cause together with the impact of climate chance is enough to wipe out the entire generation. Haven’t we suffered enough already? This madnes of dumping tailing waste into the ocean must not ever happen at Manus. There is much to be done & no time to waste.

    Chalapi Pomat

  2. Rick

    Talked to Manuai tonight at 9pm. They sailed 20 km towards Nissan Island today then turned around and returned to Tanga Islands due to rough seas. Weather is going to be rough tomorrow, improving Thursday, so the CC crew may stay at Tanga Islands tomorrow and do awareness, then travel on Thursday when weather will have improved.

  3. Manuaii

    Seeing the images of Lihir Island and experience from other mining centers, it is an excitement mix with fear when we look forward to mining Manus Island. Mining comes with great rewards, but these rewards comes with great price to pay. I would rather eat my sago and fish. Thanks guys, we the sons of Manus are proud of you and will be with you all the way home.

    Manuaaii Pondraken

  4. Judith Molong

    Thanks for calling into Lihir. Our hearts are with you in your journey. You are men full of courage, very brave, committing your time to boldly take this step in making a difference. Thank you once again for your committment. Our Loving Father shall bless and guide you thru this journey. Many thanks.

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