Community Consent

The Frieda River mine: the threat to the Sepik River

Jubilee Australia's Resource Centre

The Chinese-owned, Australian-incorporated company PanAust has plans to build a huge copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea just upstream of the mighty Sepik River. The Sepik River is one of the largest uncontaminated freshwater wetland systems in the region.

Communities along the Sepik River are concerned that the mine could pollute the river system. This might then destroy vitally important tuna breeding areas in the Chambri lakes, and reduce other fish stocks along the entire length of the river. Furthermore, they are also concerned that the mining project will lead to a significant increase in river traffic, with heavy industrial barges travelling up and down the river. They fear this will act not only as a source of pollution, but that it will also accelerate river bank erosion - a key issue for many Sepik communities given the reliance on riverside gardens for subsistence agriculture. Any pollution of the river from the mine would also pollute these riverbank gardens. 

Pollution of the Sepik River has the potential to serious undermine local people’s food security. Mining and environmental experts are clear: if this development goes ahead, it will be impossible to avoid potentially permanent damage to this river system.

Jubilee Australia is concerned that affected communities have not given their free, prior and informed consent for the project. You can donate to our work on the Frieda River Mine here.

Our 2019 report, 'The River Is Not Ours', examines the environmental and social impacts of the Frieda River mine and the views of local communities regarding the mine.

The River Is Not Ours 2019 The River Is Not Ours 2019 (1336 KB)