By Patrick Talu | Post Courier
Tolukuma Gold Mine (TGM), the 100 percent nationally owned mine has resumed operation on Wednesday afternoon after aggrieved landowners lifted the taboo placed on the mine ten days ago.
After two days of negotiation between Patromin PNG Holding Ltd (Petroimin) as the owner of TGM, Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) as a stakeholder and the Yulai Landowners Association (YLA), the landowners removed the plant through their own Goilala customary procession, a way of reversing the taboo placed to stop the mine’s operations .
The lifting of the taboo was after Petromin and YLA entered into a special agreement to address the landowners’ grievances mutually.
Among the requests Petromin made commitment to; give 5 per cent equity in the mine consistent with government’s mining policy and also to look at seting up a business development office subject to establishing a mechanism as to how the landowners can have 50 per cent interest of all contracts in TGM. Petromin through its managing director and chief executive officer Joshua Kalinoe also agreed to pay all outstanding payments including a K600,000 for YLA; set a desk for YLA at TGM office in Port Moresby and pay other outstanding financial obligations for the exploration activities incurred.
The MD also agreed to have direct communication with YAL and look at building capacity and training for mine area workforce while making commitment to review working condition for genreal Papua New Guinean workforces as part of Petromin’s human resources policy review.
He also commited to work with the State to look at the Tolukum Access Road to Port Moresby.
As a party to the special agreement YLA chairman George Gusi and his chiefs representing three major clans agreed to acknowledge Petromin as the 100 per cent owner of TGM and also agreed to work closely with Petromin and TGM management team to protect the commercial interest of the mine.
Mr Gusi also apologised to Mr Kalinoe, his senior Petromin management team and MRA’s mining coordinator Pelis Watnabar for the mine closure and all the loss incurred. Mr Kalinoe said,” Petromin learned a valuable lesson. What happened is history. Don’t lean too much on history and live the past because the past will destroy the future. Let’s find a way forward to develop the mine,” Mr Kalinoe said. Mr Kalinoe who is also a director on the TGM Board expressed confidence in the current TGM management team headed by acting general manager David Laulau and his senior team at Petromin with the likes of Lyndah Brown-Kola (Acting General Manager Minerals) and Sam Inguba (General Manger Corporate Services) to lift TGM to a next level. The reopening mining proceeded with a pig killing and exchange of betel nuts between Petromin and YLA chiefs before removing the taboo marking the resumption of mine’s operation.
Mr Kalinoe will fly into Tolukuma today and personally deliver the K600, 000 and a K50,000, part of the K100,000 cash gift as part of the customary peace ceremony while the next K50,000 will be paid next month.