By MALUM NALU
Morobe Mining Joint Ventures has denied any knowledge of the fish deaths in the Markham River of Morobe province thid week.
This follows local villagers discovering dead fish and eels floating on the Markham River and demanding an investigation from relevant authorities.
Affected communities are from Wampit, Oomsis, Potsie, Markham Bridge and three Labu villages.
David Wissink, general manager - sustainability and external relations with MMJV, said yesterday (Friday, Feb 17) that officers from Department of Environment and Conservation and Mineral Resources Authority would visit the site today.
“It is not known what has caused the fish deaths, however, such occurrences are a well-documented phenomenon throughout the world and are usually caused by depletion in dissolved oxygen in the water,” he said.
“The greatest impact on the river system in the area at the moment is the Kumalu mudslide where cubic kilometres of sediment have entered the river system due to the heavy rain.
“The Hidden Valley mine was alerted Wednesday (Feb 15) by locals from Chiatz village near the confluence of the Watut and Markham Rivers of approximately 500 dead fish and prawns.
“This location is 162km downstream from the mine site.
“The Hidden Valley Joint Ventures environment team has contacted the DEC about the incident but there is nothing that would point to the mine’s involvement in this matter.
“The mine has agreed to provide environmental support to help identify the cause.
“The quality of the water discharged from the Hidden Valley mine operations is monitored on a daily basis and is reported to the DEC weekly and monthly.
“There are no abnormalities in the Hidden Valley water quality data as it is well within compliance parameters.”