Why sand mining should not happen in Madang and on any PNG beach

Discussions are underway between the government and a Singaporean registered company called Niugini Sands Limited. I have not been able to speak to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) about the details of the proposal.

I intend to soon. I sent a request including a list of questions to the MRA for their input. They may respond this week, I hope.

I do know that there were a series of Mining Warden hearings along Madang’s North Coast within the  Sumgilbar LLG area. A group of landowners protested.  There were others who supported the proposal for sand mining.

While it is the right of landowners to decide what they want to do with their land there are several things they should consider. I write this with the Ramu Nickel mine in mind.  Ultimately, it is the papagraun who decides who destroys their land and the government  supports the foreign company and ‘pretends to follow procedure.’ No need to get all sensitive, we know that happens every time. Things have not changed.

The problem with ‘sand mining’ is that there appears to be an absence of legislation or regulations governing ‘sand mining’ in PNG.   Somebody can correct me here, If I’m wrong.  Sand is aggregate used in construction. At this stage, I don’t see the government agency tasked with managing the mining industry having the full oversight on this project.  (This is an opinion. It is contestable.)

In the absence of legislation who enforces the law?  And what laws do they enforce?

This situation opens up this proposed project to widespread abuse.

The company wants to  take control of a 50 kilometer stretch of beaches.  It will most probably be forcing villages to move inland. There is no limit to how much sand they will take.  How much should they take? Do we know?  What is the recommended limit? Or will they stop only when the beach front is totally destroyed.  Is there a buffer zone of some sort?  How is that determined? Who makes the rules?

The absence of clear guidelines will simply pave way for anyone to steal whole beaches with impunity.  It will give rise to violence.  The  sensible landowners frustrated with not having access to traditional fishing and hunting grounds will protest.

We have not seen the worst of it and we should not allow it to happen.

If we allow sand mining, we will make way for organized crime and thieves to profit from our land.  They will steal because our people simply do not have the ability to stop them from raping the land.  

5 comments on “Why sand mining should not happen in Madang and on any PNG beach

  1. Pingback: Why sand mining should not happen in Madang and on any PNG beach – Duresi's Odyssey

  2. Ignatius Dongmai

    Who in Sumgilbar electorate thought that Sand Mining will pave way for good development? First of all the word ‘Mining’ in itself is already disaster. There will be no mercy spent on how to extract sand as suggested in this case. They’ll dig, blast, suck, blow, spew, wind-mill, strain, cut, etc to get what they want. They can do this as long as the area has been signed and authorized for the purpose. We (people living along the coast line of Sumgilbar) will be heavily penalized if this project is allowed to operate. Our dependency on sea will be deprived. Our coastline will erode. We may be forced to move inland and land issues will initiate among us and the inland people. What would happen when the mine ends and the operators leave? What is there for us to live on and continue our lively hood? On behalf of my people and our future generation I strongly OPPOSED SAND MINING in SUMGILBAR or any OTHER LOCATION IN PNG. GRAUN NA NAMBIS STAP NA YUMI STAP. Only in PNG!😡😡😡


  3. Naarai Banam

    Thank you Scott for starting the conversation now; lets see what we can do to keep it going.


  4. I’m totally in opposition to this project which will definitely hinder the lives of our villages in SUMGILBAR. There are a lot more negatives to come out of this project for us to take this risk. Just not viable and beneficial to the People and their environment. STOP THIS NONSENSE!


  5. All should watch a documentary by SBS into sand mining in asia to have a glimpse into this very destructive mining. Sand from the sea has unique properties which desert sand lacks. In places such as maldives, etc.. Mining of sand even along the horizon has resulted in coastlines disappearing much faster than impacted by global warming effects. Villages are getting displaced and no where to go. Governments in these places have realised too late that mafia type operation is now used to buy and smuggle sand to meet the huge demand. Its not worth it.


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