Charles Yapumi| PNG Loop
Newcrest Mining Ltd which operates the Lihir gold mine is facing demands to pay K113 million to landowners of the water source which supplies the mine.
Roslyn Arua, the spokesperson for the Londolovit water resource group, cites:
“Non-payment of non-permitted water extraction from our traditional water hole at Londolovit village by Newcrest with little monetary benefits to us as resource owners.”
“More so, we are complaining about not being included in the Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association (LMALA) benefit package nor included in the mining agreement from the start.
“Non-permitted extraction or usage by Newcrest so far amounted to some 113,949,504,000 litres valued around K113, 949,504.00. It is for this primary purpose that we are here in Port Moresby to follow up with the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) and the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC),” Arua said, basing her allegation on an independent study the landowners funded.
However, Loop PNG was told by Newcrest that they do not owe the landowners any money.
“The Lihir gold mine sources its water from a number of locations, including the Londolovit River.”
“The amount of water that can be extracted by the mine is controlled by an environmental permit issued by the Government. This permit allows the mine to source water from eight different locations, including creeks and rivers, as well as a bore which is no longer used,” said Jane Mills, principal stakeholder communications of the Newcrest Lihir operation when responding to Loop PNG questions.
“Under this permit Newcrest pays the Government both an annual permit fee, as well as a water extraction fee.
“Since 1998, Newcrest has also paid the Londolovit community direct financial compensation for the impact of the weir constructed on the Londolovit River consistent with the Londolovit River Community Agreement.
“This involves an annual payment that increases each year in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). It started in 1998 at K35, 000 and in 2015 Newcrest paid K340, 030. Since 1998, Newcrest has paid K3.6 million in compensation to the Londolovit community.
“As well as being used by the mine, the water extracted from the Londolovit River supplies water to the Londolovit village, schools, government offices and businesses as well as the Lihir Medical Centre which provides a wide range of health services to the broader Lihir community as well as mine employees.
“The extraction of water from the Londolovit River is currently the subject of a government audit (led by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority) agreed to by the Lihir Mine Area Landowner Association (LMALA) and the Nimamar Local Level Government representing the group and Newcrest is fully supporting the completion of the audit.”