Mines refuse entry to team
AN infight among government agencies resulted in the Constitutional Law Reform Commission being barred access by three mining companies into their sites.
This was made known during a public seminar convened by the commission to present its report on the “Review of environmental and mining laws relating to management and disposal of tailings”.
The commission’s secretary Eric Kwa said the working committee had planned on visiting a total of five mines.
However, they were refused entry by the operators at Hidden Valley in Morobe, Lihir in New Ireland and Ramu Nickel project in Madang. They were allowed in at Ok Tedi, Western Province, and Porgera in Enga Province.
Mr Kwa said the incident stemmed from an alleged infighting which arose during the course of the exercise with a department (named), whom he stated had accused the commission to be hijacking their roles and function.
“We flew into Hidden Valley and when we arrived at the gate we were told that they had decided not to let us in. This is a government department trying to review the law. Who on earth has the right to stop the government from entering a mining site.
“We flew to Madang and to Lihir only to be told the same thing. Why? We only went there because we wanted to know how the law is being applied, so that we could frame them in a manner that would be good for our people.
“We had gone there because the people had spoken and because the government has listened and given us clear directions,” he said.
Mr Kwa stressed the entity to be mandated by the government to review all laws.
He said the team had not gone with the intent to criticise the existing mines about their operations.