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9 Oct 2023

Jubilee Australia

Papua New Guinea: Project Sepik & Jubilee Australia welcome AusNCP's findings specifically on recommendation for PanAust to disclose dam break analysis

"Project Sepik And Jubilee Australia Welcome Findings From Human Rights Body On The Freida River Mine", 9 October 2023

Communities from Papua New Guinea’s Sepik region have today welcomed the findings of an Australian human rights body, which will pave the way for them to have a say on a giant copper and gold mine proposed to be built on their doorstep.


The Final Statement of the AusNCP, released this week, observed that the process for seeking and obtaining the community’s consent was ongoing and therefore did not find PanAust’s conduct to be in breach of the OECD Guidelines in this area. However, the AusNCP did consider that prior consent would be necessary from certain groups, which could include groups who were represented by Project Sepik and Jubilee Australia in the complaint.

The AusNCP made a number of other important recommendations, including that:

  • PanAust review its internal company procedures regarding free, prior and informed consent to ensure consistency with international standards;
  • any future stakeholder engagement must include Project Sepik and the communities it represents, and take into account the traditional governance groups or Haus Tambarans, which have already come out strongly against the mine.

Although the AusNCP did not find the company in breach of the OECD Guidelines in relation to environmental assessment, it recommended that PanAust disclose the dam break analysis to relevant communities, which was one of the main requests made by the complainants in this process – something the Sepik communities have been calling for for years. The NGOs have long maintained that not enough information has been released about the proposed tailings dam, which several experts have argued is potentially unsound.