Watai was referring to The National story of November 5, 2015 in which a MRA official said that there was no landowner body for Mt Kare and further stated that currently there is no free licence that the landowners can claim ownership and look for investors on their own.
“Whoever MRA official that went out to the media to say there is no landowner body for Mt Kare is an outrageous lie and a direct insult to the landowners,” Watai said.
Watai said that in a letter dated 14 March, 2014 by the Minister for Mining Hon.Byron Chan MP to the Managing Director of MRA Philip Samar, Minister Chan officially recognised MKGDC as the landowner umbrella company.
“MKGDC is not disputing the current exploration licence ( EL 1093) held by tenant holder Summit Indochine Limited that is awaiting renewal by the Mining Minister Hon Byron Chan MP.”
“MKGDC stand united to work for the maximum benefits of the landowners. We have waited and suffered for so long. All we want is for the project to go ahead as soon as possible no later 2016.” Watai said.
“Earlier this month in a special meeting, the 7 major clans comprising of 21 clan agents out of the 37 agents appointed at Mt Kare in the presence of representatives from the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, MRA, consultants, Enga provincial Government, Summit Indochine Ltd ( developer) and landowners during the Land Identification Report/ Land Identification Survey last year ( May- October 2014) unanimously agreed and voted to have MKGDC be the sole legitimate landowner umbrella company to work with the developer, provincial and national government,”
The Special Mining Lease (SML) comprises of 7 major clans area namely Pakeya, Komai, Leyapi, Heli, Yolo and Kewai Terewana in a meeting in which the 21 clan agents agreed to have MKGDC lead their concerns and grievances after the court sanctioned mediation of July 24 and August 2015 respectively confirmed 19 major landowning clans,” Watai said.
In the meeting earlier this month, past differences and interclan rivalry and tassle for leadership positions were also amicabicably resolved in the meeting with another faction of a landowner umbrella company executive pledging his support to work with MKGDC under the leadership of Watai.
Chairman of Ipaita Limited Peter Tako fully pledged his support to work under MKGDC and committed to submit under the leadership of Watai.
Tako said that he had to put aside the leadership tussle and work together for the betterment of the landowners of the project area to start no later than 2016.
Watai thanked Tako for showing mature leadership by putting aside all differences and to work together for the maximum benefit of the landowners.
“The November 05 story even stated that MKGDC was trying to claim ownership and look for an investor on our own which is totally wrong and misleading,”
“I respect and applaud the mediation process presided over by Justice Kandakasi and Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Pupaka.”
“The mediation process is seen as a light at the end of the tunnel because this issue has been dragged through the mud for 30 years without development in which genuine landowners were dying instead of benefiting.” Watai said.
“I urge the responsible authorities to do whatever it takes to have the project started as the landowners stand united to work with the developer, MRA, provincial and the national government.”
“All we want is development, service and change in our area as soon as possible.” Watai said.