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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 10) – The Papua New Guinea Government has approved the Ramu Environmental Plan, which among other things, allows the offshore dumping of tailings from the mine.

The plan, which has become a center of controversy between the landowners backed by non-government organizations and project proponents, was approved after exhaustive scientific studies and analysis and a peer review in 2000.

Luo Shu, managing director of Ramu NiCo Management Limited, a subsidiary of China Metallurgical and Construction Company (MCC), said the tailing disposal techniques had undergone further environmental refinement since that time.

Shu also brushed aside allegations that nickel waste dumped from New Caledonia would be shipped to PNG and dumped in the same offshore tailings dump to increase the company’s revenue.

"We are not and have not been in any discussions with any person about taking tailings from New Caledonia and dumping them elsewhere," she said.

Shu said the Ramu project was both a mining operation and a manufacturing operation and it was the principle intention of the Ramu Nickel Joint Venture to develop and mine its own nickel ore for purpose of supplying the refinery to value add and turn it into a nickel product suitable for export from PNG.

"The ore importation option is contemplated at a preliminary stage and its necessity and feasibility, as against both economic and environmental concerns, are yet to be assessed," she said.

November 11, 2005

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