The team is responsible for deploying and retrieving sediments tubes -that act as traps- fastened to coral reefs at locations all around Lihir operation and the surrounding islands.
These traps sit on the seabed and collect settling particles of sand, silt and other suspended solid material from the water column. The dive team removes the traps every three months and replaces them with new traps. They analyse contents of the old tubes at the site’s laboratory.
“It is a simple but very effective way of monitoring impacts on the coral reefs in the Lihir waters,” said Environment Superintendent Ben Huxtable. He said a team of contracted divers previously conducted the task for several years.
“The Lihir dive team was re-mobilized after months of training, drills, medical assessments and development of supporting procedures and critical control management tools. The team members are experienced divers and know these waters well.
“We made sure they had good procedural controls and up-to-date advanced diver and rescue diving qualifications before we started them back in the water. So far they have performed commendably,” said Huxtable.
The team now performs routine dive safe and emergency drills to keep their skills sharp.
“We are happy to be back in the water and we look forward to participating in coral health surveys this year,” said Environmental Monitoring Supervisor Alphonse Ama.
(The team diving in Lihir waters to check on corals)