Blog Entry

Yati Bun Resignation from Porgera Environmental Advisory Komiti (PEAK)

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

FPCD Foundation For People And Community Development, Inc.
P.O. Box 1119, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea
Location: Sec. 60 Lot 8, Queenscliffe St. Korobosea
Executive Director Yati A. Bun M.Sc.
Phone: (675) 325-8470 fax: (675) 325-2670

27th April 2001
Our Ref 25-2-0

The Managing Director
Placer Ltd.
PO Box 851
Port Moresby

Dear Sir.

Subject: Resignation from Porgera Environmental Advisory Komiti (PEAK)

I wish to tender my resignation as Chairman and member of PEAK. It has been a struggle since February 2000 when I joined PEAK but my experience and events to date has forced me to this situation.

As PEAK Chairman, the Minutes were not cleared by me first before it went to all members. This was the first thing I noticed after the February 2000 meeting when I got appointed as chairman. I note the rules are different but raises question of governance of PEAK as normally draft minutes have to be checked by the chairman?

The Lake Murray visit in June 2000 experience. The peoples expectations and aspirations do riot seem to be getting enough and fair attention by Placer, As a member of PEAK, I was seen as a front for Placer. (ie Peoples perception is that PEAK is covering up for Placer).

The medical symposium in 2000. The revelation of the mysterious illness with in the Porgera riverine system has still not been resolved. PEAK has no answers yet?

The purpose of PEAK was to oversee the implementation of the CSIRO recommendations. After the last PEAK meeting in February 2001, it is now apparent that Placer is considering moving PEAK to look at the closing down phase as it has more or less wrapped up the CSIRO recommendations. I feel very uncomfortable with that.

It is my opinion that the recommendations of the CSIRO report have not been met fully. It appears that a series of inconclusive reports have been prepared, each suggesting that further reports are commissioned before any action is taken eg Lake Murray report.

In regard to crucial issues such as the examination of de-watering of tailings and their retention at the mine site, Placer has made very little progress. Placer has now had four years to carry out these studies and implement their recommendations, yet nothing seem to have changed from the situation in 1996 when the CSIRO report was started. Another example of further studies needed?

At the February 2001 meeting I tried to raise these concerns, but was put upon by Placer representatives. I am reminded of the history of environmental management at Ok Tedi. For years OTML denied that their discharges were having an impact on the river system. Government staff, scientists and NGOs were silenced or refuted. It was only in 1999, when admission became a financially expedient exit option, that BHP released reports showing the tragic extent of the damage — damage that they had known about for years. My conscience cannot tolerate being involved any longer with the PEAK process of expediting the continuation of riverine discharge, as when the history of Porgera is written I do not wish to be the one that oversaw Porgera's impacts and did nothing,.

My resolution to leave PEAK was further galvanized when I saw how my name and involvement in PEAK being used in propaganda materials, eg Porgera Rivers. It would have been good if Placer had the courtesy to inform me that I was going to be featured in publicity materials. I feel there is a betrayal of my trust and my conscious tells me I cannot any longer be part of PEAK.

Thank you for the opportunity given to me to be on PEAK and as Chairman.


Yati A Bun

cc. PEAK Members
cc. Chairman, FPCD Inc.