By Evah Kuamin
THE current Mining Act was an illicit law the moment it was adopted from the Australian Mining Laws and introduced into the country and it has collided with the customary laws, Morobe deputy Governor Morokoi Gaiwata has said.
Mr Gaiwata said even an ordinary person with plain common sense can tell that the legal effects of unwritten customary laws were never legally terminated to allow the State to own natural resources.
He said that the rules of law in accordance with PNG customs states that before the State can take ownership of any resources from a customary land, it must first legally alienate or compulsorily acquire customary land to take ownership of wealth and capital generated from the exploitation of any natural resources. This process he said should take place with the full consent of the principal landowners.
Mr Gaiwata reiterated that any customary land or marine sea bed were absolute in territorial possession. He explained that for any customary land or resource owner to sacrifice their very means of livelihood by surrendering their very possession of life to the State was unimaginable.
“Wealth and capital empowerment in modern rich resource and wealthy PNG are the biggest key issues in the country’s nationhood and the current mining Act is threatening this.”
Mr Gaiwata also mentioned that the current law makes the National Government richer at high costs of internal resource owners and their never ending disputes. He said that it constricts and marginalises resource rich owners’ rights of maximum gains to exercise their Melanesian belongingness to their neighbours, brethrens and the nation.
This act Mr Gaiwata stressed has been a foreign vehicle sent to destroy this country.
“Every mining and petroleum policy initiatives empower foreign interests with both capital wealth.
“These policy initiatives have no rationale for consolidation in the spirit of nationhood; in fact they are framed from foreign economic intelligence manipulating decision makers in the National Government and bureaucratic Waigani.”
He called on the National Government to immediately repeal the Act and see to it that wealth and capital generation from any mining and petroleum project from the absolute capital base to seed resource owners and other Papua New Guineans.
He added that it must also translate landowner’s riches in a structure to transform PNG into a developed nation in a given time-frame. It should be practical and realise PNG’s national consciousness amid the forces of the global community.
Mr Gaiwata has also called on the National Government to appoint a committee with specific tasks to come up with a new PNG Mining Act.