PNG Opposition opposes Coal Mining proposal

coal fired power

PNG Today | 7 December 2016

The government’s proposal to venture into a coal mine in the country has met resistance from the Opposition.

“The Opposition does not blindly support a COAL mine in Papua New Guinea. Regardless of it being a lucrative business or whether we have it in abundance or not, this is not an issue.

“We do not support a COAL industry,” said Opposition Leader Don Pomb Polye when commenting on the proposal.

There are very justified reasons to verify our position are:

1. The first is PNG is a signatory to a Climate Change Initiative. PNG is a host to one of the pristine environments in the world. We host the third largest rainforest in the world. We have our eco-system so diverse in all wildlife. It is like the Garden of Eden when God created. PNG would like to stand up as a leader and signatory to the global commitment of climate change initiatives. Coal, we know, has adverse effects. It produces more carbon dioxide. It gives off more greenhouse damages and that adds onto the problem of already existing chemicals in the atmosphere. That in turn increases temperature. We do not want to see PNG doing what is contrary to what it has already agreed to sign. PNG will need to stand up as a leader in this area. We have lost some of our own islands to rise in sea level due to global warming. In order to protect our people and our country from global warming, we have to do what it right. Definitely developing a coal industry in PNG is not a right thing to do;

2. The second reason is the country has not managed its resources prudently. In other words, the O’Neill-Dion government has not managed our proceeds from the extractive industry wisely to create a sustainable income for the country’s economy. For instance, we have seen the proceeds from the PNG LNG project sent offshore to repay commercial loans borrowed from overseas. We do not see any proceeds of existing extractive projects benefitting our people. The people of the five host provinces, which have signed the Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreements, have been crying for their dues for more than four years. No benefit has gone to these people. The five provincial governments have continued to struggle to get the benefits to their provinces. The question is if we continue to allow our government to exploit more of our resources in the extractive industry like the Coal, mine, gas…etc., what is the guarantee that our people will be benefitting today whilst we experience evidently that the people of this country are not benefitting from what they own- the resources? Even the OK Tedi mine, for instance, from which the Prime Minister announced a 39 per cent equity to the landowners that has not been materialised. When will we see our people benefitting from the 39 per cent equity? There is no benefit but only sugar-coated talks. The government has also pushed for a project in New Ireland – seabed mine. We do not know the benefits. We do not also know what has happened to it. When I was a minister, I opposed this deep seabed mining because it damages the environment. The proceeds have not been prudently managed for the people.

Therefore, when the government continue to exploit more and more resources at the suffering of our people without exercising prudent economic management or giving benefits back to the people who own the resources, there is no guarantee that the new coal mine will benefit the people to build a strong economy. We must not develop projects which we already have their existence that are not benefitting our people. We need to diversify the country’s economy. We need to create a resilient and a sustainable economy. It is very important. We are yet to do that. We would like to see proceeds from the extractive industry diverted into building a very strong and big agriculture industry in PNG. We would also like to see a big manufactory factory developed from funds sourced from the extractive industry. These are the things which we should have achieved when we saw that the LNG proceeds were diverted elsewhere. We are yet to see these industries developed at least to see our people being turned away from the expectation of extractive industry to SME, tourism, agriculture or manufacturing-based economy. Without creating those industries to diversify the economy, the government deciding to develop a coal industry or any others devoid of proceeds materialised at the grassroots level, we feel that it is a waste of time and resources. It is a pure exploitation of what PNG offers as they do not earn benefits for the people who own the resources. These points must be observed by the government when bulldozing the project through.

We will fix the economic strategies and policies to create that sustainable and resilient economy to benefit our people for a long time. I want to move away from the traditional way of managing the economy. I want to move away from the extractive industry which is only temporary. I would like to create very permanent industries in agriculture, downstream processing, tourism, Information, communication and technology and building and empowering SMEs. How do we do this? I will make sure PNG Sustainable program is restored because it is a good program. The government has made a mistake to disband it. Review the Sovereign Wealth Fund as it deviated from its original version; strengthen the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), establish agriculture commodity stabilisation funds, Commercialisation of fertile lands (Sepik Plain, Markam Valley, Baiyer valley, Waghi valley, Papuan Basin, fertile lands in New Guinea Islands etc…) into huge agriculture projects. That is what we should be doing.

See also: Mayur company optimistic about coal power

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8 Comments

Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

8 responses to “PNG Opposition opposes Coal Mining proposal

  1. Finally, someone in the political hierarchy has taken a clear stand against the proposed coal mine and coal fired plants in PNG. Clearly, the ordinary citizen gets overwhelmed by media hype by Mayur Resources in the Gulf that they are too blind to see the repercussions. Too often, we see big corporations and companies go on media frenzy throwing dollars by the bucketful.

    Australia is NOT A SIGNATORY to the Paris Climate Accord. Why should an Australian company be even allowed to mine coal, let alone be given a licence to do so by MRA?

    Papua New Guinea is steaming down the road of reckless resource exploitation by foreign companies whose only goal is profits. Yet, her people continue to live in poverty.

    The people of PNG must support Don Polye and the Opposition in blocking coal mining in PNG.

    Only hypocrites and greedy people turn against their own for the sake of a few bucks. What has the government done with all the money from the resources projects? People are dying, mothers cannot deliver their babies in hospitals, children have no books to read, chairs or desks to sit on in schools. Teachers and rural nurses live in dilapidated houses, and the list goes on.

    Look at the money being spent in Port Moresby.

    Port Moresby is NOT PNG and does not reflect PNG. Do not measure PNG’s “successes “by the high rise buildings and expensive hotels you see in Port Moresby. Waigani has simply forgotten the grassroots. Waigani is not PNG!!!!

    PNG is a signatory to the Paris Accord. Don’t be fooled by the media hype.

    The Purari Vailala where the coal is are traditional lands and territories. These lands are not owned by the Government or Mayur. The people will oppose any intrusions on their lands and territories without the landowners consent.

    Why can’t Mayur do the coal mining in Roma or Longreach in Western QLD? Then see what the locals there say about coal mining and environment degradation.

    The petition to stop coal mining and Mayur Resources on the spotlight and the PNG government’s culpability in about turning on the Paris Climate Accord has gone worldwide.

    Some international media have been alerted to this plan to mine coal in Gulf, PNG.

    Stand by your principles Mr. Polye and take the government to task. If you can’t do it, who else will?

  2. Moses Wininga

    The Government initiative of supporting Coal Mining is Good.

    Our Region of Sepik is very far from Port Moresby and Lae and we lack alot of tangible developments like Lae and Port Moresby. We have giant Frieda Mine that need to be developed and Coal Exploration in our Sepik Basin to continue.

    The Coal Project will continue as we support this government for the supporting this Vital Project.We are landowners of Sandaun Province who have our water polluted by the rising minerals from the mineral beds,especially Coal.

    We understand that the Government have their experts who have researched overtime and their written research write ups have convince the Government to go ahead.

    • Linda Saul

      So.. will every clan member get an income or job in the proposed mines if and when they are developed?
      How about the children in the clan not yet born? What would be their birthright?
      In my opinion, food security is far more important than foreign investment which does not flow down to the village except for a few families maybe. Check out Ok Tedi landowners who have been overlooked because their voices were not strong enough over the greedy clan members who sold out.
      Hang onto that customary land since it belongs to everyone from old to not yet born.
      Get organic agriculture up and running via a co-operative of like minded people in the area. When local economy is stimulated by grass roots collective hard work, people have full tummies and money to spend on other things.

  3. Peter HITCHCOCK

    Good to see some debate about the serious issue of committing PNG to a high carbon future – coal. But I don’t see the alternative energy options being raised. PNG’s rivers are an outstanding resource capable of generating all of PNG’s grid electricity needs. For example, the Purari hydro proposal in Gulf Province, investigated in detail by Origin Energy, has a potential exceeding 1,000 Mw – far more than grid demand in the foreseeable future. The Purari hydro proposal is just a 200 km power line link from Lae. And then their is the huge solar opportunities. It would be instructive for PNG to look at the initiatives of the Myanmar government which aims to deliver electricity to its tens of millions of people by 2030, mostly by hydro and solar!
    https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/dec/02/off-grid-solar-to-help-myanmar-bring-electricity-to-all-by-2030?CMP=share_btn_fb
    Solar micro grids allow local communities to take direct responsibility for their electricity generation, ideal for PNG with its thousands of small villages. PNG could be a world leader in renewable energy.

  4. GeeMail@gmail.com

    Interesting to see the Opposition Leader’s opposition to coal. I was informed by someone I consider to be credible that his Deputy Opposition Leader has a differing opinion on coal but I reckon domestic gas is the way to go until these long-lead time large hydro projects are constructed.

  5. Pingback: PNG Opposition opposes Coal Mining proposal — Papua New Guinea Mine Watch | Indiĝenaj Inteligenteco

  6. Pingback: UN Resident Coordinator, Roy Trivedy On Coal Mining in PNG | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

  7. Pingback: Mayur Resources: Polye was briefed | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

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