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Expert says Metallurgical Corp.'s Ramu nickel plant may have spilled toxic waste

Metallurgical Corp. of China Ltd.'s majority-owned Ramu cobalt-nickel plant may have spilled toxic waste into Papua New Guinea's Basamuk Bay in August, Reuters reported Oct. 11, citing local news agency EMTV Online.

A source close to the company had told Reuters at the time of the leak that it had no adverse effect on the environment. The company is now facing compensation claims and calls from the local governor to shut down the plant.

EMTV, citing environmental remediation expert Alex Mojon, reported that all 28 samples tested from the site had toxic levels of heavy metals contamination. Local residents also reportedly complained about smoke from the plant that irritated their skin and eyes.

"I have to tell you that it's alarming ... there is evidence that Ramu Nico is not managing their waste and that is a fact. I have obtained the results from the laboratory from Germany ... I am shocked," Mojon was quoted as saying.

Mojon did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment. A spokesperson for the plant had no immediate comment, and the company did not answer the newswire's phone call.

Jerry Garry of Papua New Guinea's Mineral Resources Authority told Reuters that the agency will comment after seeing Mojon's report. The country's Conservation and Environment Protection Authority will release the results of an investigation this week, Reuters said.