Chan pushes Lihir peace talks

A gorgor, made from the twisted leaves of a ginger plant

A gorgor, made from the twisted leaves of a ginger plant, at the Lihir mine site

Francis Uliau | The National aka The Loggers Times | May 9, 2016
THE State, through the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), continued the peace process between major stakeholders in the Lihir gold project in Namatanai, New Ireland, on Friday.
“Mining Minister Byron Chan and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan both attended with a big delegation including MRA officials from head office in Port Moresby,” Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association (LMALA) chairman James Laketan told The National on Friday.
MRA Lihir project coordinator Vincent Kisso could not be contacted to provide background reports on the event.
Questions over MRA’s (and the State’s) stance on issues and laws governing gorgor placements also remained outstanding.
Friday’s ceremony was a follow-up to the spiritual and traditional reconciliations held in Kavieng and on Lihir Island in February and March.
Minister Chan, who attended the March 5 traditional reconciliation ceremony between the Nimamar LLG and LMALA spoke highly of the peace process and assured all parties, including local landowners and developer Newcrest Mining Limited that the National Government fully endorsed the current way forward.
He assured the project proponents that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and all Cabinet ministers had recognised and endorsed the reconciliation ceremonies.
Governor Sir Julius did not attend the March 5 traditional ceremony because he was then overseas for a minor surgery. However, he was on the island on Friday.
Laketan said part three of the reconciliation process on Friday would allow for outstanding benefits and commitments in the Lihir memorandum of agreement (MOA) and integrated benefits package (IBP) to be honoured.
“Mining activities on Lihir are ongoing and all project proponents must also step up on our activities.
“The Lihir Agreements Review (LAR) process is long overdue. Now is the time to sit down with the State, through MRA, and developer Newcrest and fast-track all prerequisites to the IBP,” Laketan said.
“The Lihirian people have suffered enough.
“Years of infighting have created instability and suffering for our people.”
A review of the IBP had been outstanding since 2007.
LMALA general manager Joachim Malele said the ongoing conflict had affected the implementation of projects and programmes under the Lihir Sustainable Development Plan (LSDP).
Malele, who was general manager LSDP until his elevation to head LMALA in late March, said there was a major need to progress all chapters of LSDP through the State, landowner association and the local, district and provincial governments.
Meanwhile, describing LAR, MOA and IBP processes as “taking too long”, Minister Chan said MRA and Newcrest Mining must release all outstanding commitments, including grants and benefits, to the Lihir people and their local, district and provincial governments.
“Put aside your differences and progress discussions to obtain and deliver what rightfully belongs to the people,” the minister said.

1 Comment

Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

One response to “Chan pushes Lihir peace talks

  1. Kanau Iobuna

    PNG will never get out of this dilemma until it reforms all its laws on Mining, Oil and Gas and gear them towards the interest of the people of this country. Currently the laws are geared towards the interests of the developers which are foreign hence the suffering of our people and the lack of government control due to flaws in the shareholding

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