April 16, 2012
Basamuk Bay in Madang, Papua New Guinea. Photo produced using Google Earth.
The Minister of Environment and Conservation, Thompson Harokaqueh, ordered the slurry pipeline shut-down, effectively shuttering the mine, while the government takes another look at the project. According to the company's agreement, the slurry pipeline was to be built at least 25 meters from the road and raised on steel supports, however on the ground inspection revealed that MCC upheld neither of these legal requirements.
The mine has been hugely controversial from the beginning in Papua New Guinea. One of the largest issues has been the plan to dump the mine's waste into Basamuk Bay (also known as Astrolabe Bay), which many locals depend on for fishing. An estimated 100 million tons of toxic mine tailings will be dumped into the bay over the next two decades.