We want to shut down this mine

by April 3, 2010

On Friday, March 26, 2010, two hundred Indigenous Landowners and concerned citizens stood up in protest against the Chinese-owned Ramu nickel mine in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea. The peaceful protest was deemed illegal by police and halted.

The event took place in front of a packed courthouse, where the Chinese Metallurigcal Construction Company (MCC) was attempting to lift a temporary injunction that stopped the company from finishing their submarine tailings pipeline. The Landowners were granted the injunction seven days earlier.

While the protesters remained outside of the courthouse--inside, the Judge was ruling against the MCC, ordering them to return to court in Madang on April 12. The judgment is being hailed "another major victory" for Indigenous Peoples, who are gravely concerned about MCC's plans.

The tailings pipeline, 134-km long, would carry tailings waste from the nickel mine to the Bismarck Sea, where, over the course of ten years, more than 100 million tons of waste will be poured.. The toxic waste will invariably poison fish stocks and cause"extreme ecological destruction" to the seabed.

"With work on the overland pipeline completed, the Chinese are now planning a series of underwater explosions to blast a way through coral reefs for the undersea section of the pipe," notes an Action Alert by Rainforest Portal.

On top of the ecological threat, Indigenous Peoples at the mine site have been devastated by forced removal from their traditional lands.

Some have not only have they lost their homes. According to Scott Waide, who recently interviewed members of one village, about 50 members of the Mauri Clan have been also forced to live at a temporary resettlement area -- "a forbidden, sacred site" where the Clan's ancestral spirits dwell. "Sacred as it was to the Mauri Clan of Kurumbukari, the site has been designated as a stockpile area for nickel ore," says Waide.

Fortunately, with the temporary injunction still in effect, all MCC activity has been halted. But even so, the struggle to shut down the Ramu mine is far from over. After all, the government of Papua New Guinea, which partly owns the mine, has made it clear that it is behind the company and their blind effort to exploit the land.

Learn more at Ramu Nickel Mine Watch and the Facebook group, "WE SAY NO to DEEP SEA Waste Disposal in Basamuk BAY"

What You Can Do

  • April 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    This is an outrage. We must stop destroying the earth and stop trampling on the rights of indigenous peoples.


  • Thunderbeing
    April 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I am looking into this and will intervene where nessesary.I would like to know though out of all the mines around the world how many of them dump toxic waste into the sacred waters?and how many displace our people?and disrespect our sacred sites?All will be looked into in the coming weeks expect powerful repercussions from the findings.Good and bad.The great spirits will attempt to protect the good people who reside in the areas espeacly the protectors but country capitols and corporate capitols could be effected.Ever watch Dune?the movie you should check it out its about locals stopping mining on the planet Dune.Almost feels the same here doesn't it.They win in the end the locals.
    Peace and love!


  • April 28, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Apoligies for taking so long to respond, Thunderbeing. Your comment slipped by me.

    It's hard to give an exact number, but it's commonplace for companies to dump their waste anywhere they can (get away with it); whether it's in an open pit about five feet above a watershed, or right beside a river, or in a block of "cement" that's placed underground.

    There's almost never any talk about alternative means of disposal, like mabye breaking the toxins down through some chemical process. I'm certain the "technology" for that exists. Come to think of it, I did read something recently about using a special kind of bacteria that bascially "feeds" of certain metals/minerals like iron, arsenic, and maybe even mercury. But beyond that, it's just "dump and run."

    That said, if I had to guess how many companies are endangering water around the world, the absolute minimum would be about 300. Some of course, are far worse than others.

    As far as displacing communities goes, I'd have to say there's atleast 100 companies, but that also includes hydro companies, biofuel/logging companies, etc.

    And the number's about the same (a little less) for sacred sites. Just in the US there's about thirty sites, if we also include all industries (which I think we should do, because they're all obeying the same colonial doctrine.)


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