Chan calls for changes to PNG Mining Act before polls

Governor of PNG's New Ireland Province, Julius Chan. Photo: RNZI/ Peter Kinjap

Governor of PNG’s New Ireland Province, Julius Chan. Photo: RNZI/ Peter Kinjap

The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s New Ireland province has come out in support of calls for changes to the Mining Act before next year’s elections.

Sir Julius Chan, who is a former PNG prime minister, said he backs statements by Hidden Valley’s Nakuwi Landowner’s Association that citizens should have more ownership of mineral extraction operations.

The association is frustrated at long delays to a revised agreement regarding the Newcrest’s Hidden Valley mine in Morobe province that would guarantee landowners and local communities more benefits.

In recent years elements of the government have indicated the Mining Act could be modified to give landowners more control of the wealth from mining.

However, speaking at this month’s PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference in Sydney, the prime minister Peter O’Neill ruled out any changes to the Act before the 2017 elections.

The Mining minister Byron Chan echoed this.

But Mr Chan’s father, Sir Julius, said PNG people have suffered for too long under a Mining Act that literally steals the wealth from their land.

He said that the level of royalties which mining companies pay in PNG compared to overseas “completely screws the landowners and provinces”.

“Our people are getting almost nothing from the huge amount of wealth coming from their ground,” he complained. “It all goes to the company and the National Government, and none of it comes back to the people.”

Sir Julius criticised the O’Neill government for reneging on various promises made to him in return for his party’s support for the formation of the coalition in 2012.

This included commitments on renegotiating the Memorandum of Agreement for the Lihir Gold Mine in New Ireland.

“Government has dragged its feet for literally four years, ever since 2012 when the MoA came up for the regular five-year review,” he explained.

“National Government should be protecting the rights and the interests of the landowners and people, but instead it just delays and acts as the stooge for the Mining companies. This has to stop “

The New Ireland governor said his administration fully supported the Nakuwi Landowners in their intent to shut down the Hidden Valley Mine unless government signs a new MoA.

Sir Julius said it is time for Mining Provinces and landowners to come together to insist on a fair deal from the great wealth that is coming out of their land.

“I think we need to sit down together and come to agreement on how we want the entire mining regime, the entire mining system, to work.”

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3 Comments

Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

3 responses to “Chan calls for changes to PNG Mining Act before polls

  1. Like father, like son….
    All talk no action.
    One minute they support the mining companies, then the next minute they support changing the Mining Act so the citizens of PNG and the landowners
    take control of the wealth from mining.
    Sir Julius Chan (the father) has been a “puppet” for the mining companies, for years, so why the change of heart now? Don’t forget, when he was the Prime Minister, he hired the mercenaries Sandline International to kill, maim and murder the people of Bougainvile in order to re-open the Panguna mine owned by Rio Tinto. Thankfully, he did not succeed and was thrown out of office by the people of Papua New Guinea (March 1997).
    The current Mining Minister is his son, Byron Chan. Just like his father, one minute he supports the mining companies and the next he wants the PNG landowners to own their mineral wealth.
    Whilst both the father now and the son back in 2011 say they want the landowners to take control of the wealth from mining companies by changing the Mining Act, how come Byron Chan now opposes the idea of changing the Mining Act?
    See
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/miners-in-shock-as-png-plans-to-put-landowners-in-charge-of-resources/news-story/f04c37ce33861f2d41a10f7df9019866

    Miners in shock as PNG plans to put landowners in charge of resources,
    The Australian newspaper, 19 August 2011.

  2. aitzetm@web.de

       

    Gesendet: Montag, 19. Dezember 2016 um 04:50 Uhr Von: "Papua New Guinea Mine Watch" <comment-reply@wordpress.com> An: aitzetm@web.de Betreff: [New post] Chan calls for changes to PNG Mining Act before polls

    ramunickel posted: " The Governor of Papua New Guinea's New Ireland province has come out in support of calls for changes to the Mining Act before next year's elections. Sir Julius Chan, who is a former PNG prime minister, said he backs statements by Hidden Val"

    Would this also apply to the Panguna mine in Bougainville?

    (Kurt Aitzetmuller in Germany)

  3. Perhaps you should ask Sir Julius Chan.
    His son Byron Chan is the current Mining Minister in PNG, who currently opposes any changes to the Mining Act. But back in 2011, his son Byron wanted the landowners of PNG to be in charge of their resources.
    At a guess, Byron is happy with his “corrupt” payments from the mining companies and his dad Julius is a wealthy bloke too who “played the game”.

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