Post Courier | September 2, 2019
Madang Governor Peter Yama wants the Ramu nickel mine closed, a report tabled, review done and funds owing to the Madang provincial government paid before it starts operating again.
An irate Mr Yama held a press conference last Friday asking why Ramu nickel-cobalt mine was exporting K27 billion yearly and yet nothing has been paid to the provincial government.
He urged Prime Minister James Marape to be serious about Ramu with no more delays. He also said other provinces with mines have received royalties and payments, but for Madang – nothing.
“Prime Minister, I am in great distress, I am angry with a righteous anger because there is great injustice done to the province of Madang, and as the Governor of Madang I am very jealous, yes, envious of my two close friends, Governor of Enga and Governor Of New Ireland,” he said.
“When I visit my friends, they always boast of what mining has contributed to their provinces.
“In Enga, mining has given them the IPI group, a company that is worth more than a billion kina. They have a Children’s Future Fund and they have infrastructure devel-opment as a result of the mining operations,” he said.
“So, I turn to my friend, Governor of New IreIand, and he tells me that he started a pension scheme, that because of the mine, the Lihirians own the Anitua group worth over a biliion. They aiso have MRL Capital, again worh over a billion kina….
“And then there is Western Province with the Ok Tedi Mine. They have an environmental disaster happening, but at least they have PNGSDP worth neariy US$2 billion. They also have part ownership of the Ok Tedi Mine. In addition, they are fighting over K500 million in ANZ.
“What I wouldn’t give for an opportunity to fight over K500 million.
“And the conversation turns to me…How many billions did you get from the mining operations in Madang, Governor? What can I say???…
“I have RDF worth three bags of kaukau which I can’t sell. And I have an environmental disaster waiting to happen that could devastate our tuna industry worth billions, kill my people, damage the Ramu valley, destroy my Madang coastal development program, and destroy our economy for many decades to come, affecting not just my province but the Momase region and Bismarck Sea as well,” Mr Yama said.
“And yes…. we have K27 billion worth of export from the mining operations, but alas, we are getting nothing from it since it doesn’t belong to us.
That’s what I have from the mining operation in my province. Last year, an MOU was signed with MCC on the continuation and expansion of the Ramu nico operations without consulting with my government.
“I consider it an insult as my people in my province are the ones who will pay for any mining disaster or damages caused to the environment. It is our home and our lives will be affected, so we must be adequately compensated and consulted and not be ignored.”
Mr Yama also said CEPA failed to protect the environment, allowing the operators to dump toxic waste directly into the environment.
“Prime Minister, for the sake of my people and the future generations of Madang, we will have no option but to close the mine.”