Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is defending a 15 year old practice of deep ocean disposal of tailings from the Lihir gold mine as being the best choice.
The recently acquired mine located in Papua New Guinea came under scrutiny at the annual meeting of the company for the disposal practice. The company acquired Lihir Gold in a $9.5 billion takeover recently.
The shareholder activist Stephen Mayne asked the question about the practise at the annual meeting after a program aired on ABC criticised the disposal method shortly after Newcrest Mining took over the mine.
At the meeting Don Mercer called it a marginal issue, saying that the ABC program was not a particularly well researched endeavour. Former Lihir chairman and climate change expert Ross Garnaut went so far as to accuse the program of gross distortions.
Newcrest chief executive Ian Smith also defended the company's environmental record at the annual meeting during his address to the shareholders. He said that the tails are introduced into the sea at a depth of 115 meters which is well below the mixing zone. He also said that independent marine experts have verified that the ongoing monitoring has not shown any material metals concentration in the food chain.