Wafi-Golpu And Frieda River Proposed Mines Are Nothing New To PNG
Post Courier Editorial | February 4, 2019
Papua New Guinea of all places in the world should know better than most other advancing, under developed and developing worlds what the price of new world class mines operations entail.
The industry itself is so sophisticated and complex that for an infant resource based country like PNG, the understanding and economics of the business has yet to be fully understood and appreciated. That is not to say PNG has not had its say and experienced what it means because the country’s history itself has demonstrated to the world what can and cannot go wrong in such developments.
It is a painful memory to give Bougainville as an example because that was the first ever manifestation of a culmination of events that took place because of the absence of modern day dialogue between developers and the local people of PNG.
Bougainville is too painful an experience to always delve on due to the that it was the first time ever that a civil war was fought on PNG soil. PNG’s experience are the two World Wars where it was not spared the agony of witnessing human beings being slaughtered and killed at random at the behest of two or more foreign powers attempting to take control of the world.
PNG was just caught up in the international quagmire of geo-political and militarily ambitious strategic to be the best in the world.
The point here then is that PNG is not short of world or international experience and exposure that it has learnt or not from. In this case Wafi and Golpu plus Freida River proposed gold and copper mines are the perfect opportunity to showcase what PNG can do when it comes to benefit streams which is what all landowners are screaming murder about at the moment. So with the unique experience that many of PNG’s outstation and communication officers process, perhaps the two new mining projects should set the new standards and technical understanding of what new resources development projects should be realigned in relation to connections with local people.
This is as opposed to the standard policies and principles contained within all mining and other resource projects agreements and understandings.
This means where there is no clear clarification of how best landowners should be involved in progressive developments be they technical or project economics, they should be debriefed like all other stakeholders.
It is about time where local landowners considered illiterate and uneducated are left out from the technical briefings provided and with the wishful thinking that community liaison officers can best do the job on behalf of developers and investors to explain basic project economics to curtail resentment. Landowners should be engaged from day one until project agreements are signed so as to avoid the prevailing misconceptions about who benefits most from the millions invested in projects.