Tag Archives: Harmony Gold

Wafi-Golpu land dispute: The other side of the story

Lorenitz Gaius | The National aka The Loggers Times | March 18, 2019

IT appears that some people, like one PK Anding, had lately, been vocal and supportive of the Piu Incorporated Land Group’s claim of ownership of the Wafi-Golpu project land. PK Anding had even gone as far as to mention that the Lutheran Church had written to the prime minister informing him of its support of Piu’s claim of ownership.

Further to my previous letter to the editor, I briefly mentioned that the claim by the Piu Incorporated Land Group, led by chairman Martin Tapei, was thrown out by the Supreme Court. A brief synopsis of the case is provided below for anyone out there to appreciate the origin of the Piu Incorporated Land Group claims of ownership over the 50,000 hectares of customary land.

On Feb 22, 2001, Piu ILG applied to the Department of Lands and Physical Planning for a special agricultural business lease (SABL) over the Wafi-Golpu project land comprising of 6240 hectares. This was done without the knowledge of the people of Yanta, Hengaybu and Babuaf people, including the other seven villages in the area.

On July 24, 2001, an SABL lease was granted to the Piu ILG by the minister for lands under the Land Act comprising of 50,000 hectares instead of the 6240 hectares applied for. This grant was vehemently disputed by the Yanta, Hengabu, Babuaf people as well as the other known seven villages within the area.

On May 18, 2003, following pressures and protests by these groups within the 50,000 hectares of land, the new minister for lands and physical planning intervened and revoked Piu’s SABL lease. His decision was based on the non-compliance of the requirements and provisions of the Land Act under Section 10 and 102.

On Nov 19, 2004, the Piu ILG, not satisfied with the minister’s revocation of its SABL lease, applied to the National Court for judicial review for which leave was granted on May 5, 2005. The minister’s revocation was cancelled and Piu’s ILG title was restored, albeit temporarily.

On Aug 29, 2005, Yanta, Hengabu, Babuaf and Towangola appealed to the Supreme Court for a judicial review of the National Court order of Aug 18, 2004. The appeal was upheld and the National Court judgment was declared void, and the SABL lease granted to Piu on July 24, 2001, was declared null and void.

So to whoever is still supporting the Piu ILG claims of ownership over the Wafi-Golpu project land, I hope the above information gives you a clear picture of the situation. Questions should be asked about how Piu’s claim of 6240 hectares ended up with 50,000 hectares of customary land, especially when the land is communally owned?


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MP warns govt not to take people for granted

MP calls for Wafi-Golpu ‘value proposition’

Cedric Patjole | PNG Loop | February 7, 2019

The Huon MP has called on the Government to tell the people of Morobe and PNG the true value proposition of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture.

Ross Seymour says the Province and its people have always supported the growth and development agenda of the country and economy, but they should not be taken for granted.

In a statement, the Huon MP said they need to know that the State is putting their interests first.

Seymour said: “History shows that Morobe Province and the people of Morobe have always been at the forefront of progressing development of Papua New Guinea well before the birth of our new united country in 1975 to the present day.

“Morobe’s economic contributions began shortly after it was settled in the late 1800s, first by the Germans then later as a British colony under the Australian Administration. Morobe people through their toils had set the foundations for the journey towards nationhood. Yet in those early years, despite their efforts, they remained uninformed onlookers.

“In the 1920s and ‘30s, the Wau and Bulolo minefields had also made many in both Australia and the new protectorate of Papua and New Guinea prosperous and wealthy, but not the people of Morobe. Perhaps it is time to recognise our sacrifice and our efforts, and give back to the people of Morobe what is fair and equitable, and not least to the people of Huon, Bulolo and Lae.

Seymour added: “Todaywe shall be impacted again by another mega-mining project, but today we do not suffer from ignorance or a lack of knowledge and awareness of the economic, social and commercial value of the Wafi-Golpu mining project and not least its environmental impacts.”

He said as of today, they refuse to be bystanders and uninformed onlookers.

Seymour claims the State and the corporate bodies have already agreed to a 51 percent / 49 percent free cashflow split, and they expect that the benefits accrued from the mining project is extensively redistributed to the rest of PNG.

“So from within Papua New Guinea’s share as guaranteed by this current legislation what is my people’s fair and equitable value proposition?

“As I understand it, the Mining Act precipitates a negotiation process and an outcome thereafter and this can only happen and be determined in a negotiated process during a development forum and secured under an MOA which has not yet been concluded!

“As stakeholders in the development forum process I ask the National Government to be absolutely transparent in its dealings with my people as never again shall we end up with empty pockets, deprived of economic and commercial empowerment!”

Seymour impresses upon the Prime Minister and Ministers Johnson Tuke and Sam Basil to inform the public of the true value proposition of the MOU as opposed to what would have been if they had merely employed the existing and current provisions of the Mining Act.

“As its value proposition is guaranteed by law – after all I believe this is really what my Honorable Governor for Morobe is seeking to clarify on behalf of the Tutumang.”

Seymour also called on Governor Ginson Saonu to employ wisdom in dialogue rather than submit to a Court proceeding to settle this delicate issue.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has stated in the January sitting of Parliament that the MOU signed with the WGJV is an understanding between the parties on their expectations of the project.

He said they will ensure the Tutumang, landowners and other stakeholders have properly negotiated stakes before the project agreement is concluded by June 30th this year.

“So we have got another five months to continue to discuss some of the issue that we want to, particularly on the benefits too. Provincial governments, the State, the landowners and other stakeholders, let me remind our good leaders that we are also on the same side that we want to bring maximum benefit to our people and to our country.”

O’Neill said despite the current court action by the Tutumang against the State, they will not be excluded and will be involved in the project agreement negotiations which are yet to take place.

“We have tried to engage with the provincial government but there has been some misunderstanding. Morobe Provincial Government to its own wish they have established a consultancy team to advise them on the issues going forward and we respect that, that is the right of the Morobe Provincial Government but we are not excluding the Provincial Government on all these negotiations,” said the Prime Minister.

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Foreign miners to hold state’s equity: O’Neill

Cedric Patjole | Loop PNG | January 30, 2019

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says understandings have been reached with Papua LNG developer Total E&P PNG and the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture (WGJV) to hold State’s equity until the first export from both projects.

This is to ensure the state does not borrow to purchase equity in a project.

“The initial understanding we have with the second LNG and in particular Wafi-Golpu is that our participation in equity will be carried by the developer until the first export of either the gold and copper from Wafi-Golpu or in the second LNG Project, meaning we don’t have to borrow large sums of money that we are unable to repay.

“This is our resource, the developer has to carry us to a certain extent. I’m thankful that Total and Newcrest have agreed to those understanding and we are looking forward to our Ministerial committee finalising the development agreement that will make sure the resource owners are fully participating rather than waiting for loans to be paid and of course, the benefits rolling out to them,” said O’Neill.

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K500M Demand For Wafi-Golpu ‘Unreasonable’

Prime minister Peter O’Neill says K500M Demand For Wafi-Golpu is ‘Unreasonable’ Photograph: Dave Hunt/AAP

Isaac Nicholas | Post Courier | January 23, 2019

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told Parliament yesterday that the Morobe provincial government demand for K400-K500 million in affidavits filed in a court application against the developer of Wafi-Golpu mine project and the State is unreasonable.

Mr O’Neill was responding to questions from Member for Markham Koni Iguan on the importance of Papua LNG and Wafi-Golpu mine in the country, the recent shutdown of operations and the court application filed by Morobe provincial government.

He said the court application by the provincial government was within its rights to take the State and developer and all the other stakeholders to court.

“But some of the affidavit that have been put forward in court are quite alarming, particularly demanding large sums of money to carry out some of the landowner forums and discussions that is going to take place,” Mr O’Neill said.

“We have to be reasonable, the project has not started yet asking for K4-500 million I heard is nobody is going to do that so please let us be realistic but we can’t stop the proceedings to go ahead but we will try and resolve these with all stakeholders in an amicable manner which will benefit our people and our country.”

Mr O’Neill said the MOU signed between the government and developers of Wafi-Golpu was just an understanding that would pave the way for talks between landowners and provincial governments and all stakeholders on benefits like local content and other benefits.

“These two projects, the Papua LNG and Wafi-Golpu have been a subject of discussion for many years since those two discoveries were made for gold and gas in Elk Antelope, and now that the developers have put in an application to develop those mines, government has a responsibility to ensure that they have the confidence of government and the confidence in the legislation under which we issued them the exploration licence where they were asked to come and invest and make these discoveries.”

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Maru Supports Morobe’s Stand On No ‘Fly In Fly Out’

Ummm… “The best resource project that I have seen in my lifetime is the Bougainville copper mining project”.

Post Courier | January 18, 2019

National Planning Richard Maru has come out publicly to support the stance taken by the Morobe provincial government to oppose ‘fly in fly out’ arrangement for workers of the Wafi-Golpu project.

This is the first time a very senior member of Government has come out on the issue that has been a critical mainstay of discussions and forums by landowners and leaders alike in the Morobe province.

Minister Maru said if there was one thing that his government was taking away from mineral development, it was learning from previous Governments mistakes to not getting the best deal for the country.

“In this new deals that we want to put together for this country, under the new mining agreement for Wafi Golpu and Freida and even the second LNG project we are going to make sure that Papua New Guinea benefits more than any other resource projects in the past.

“I want place on record, this morning (yesterday) that I support the position taken by the Governor of Morobe and the people of Morobe that there will be no fly in fly out in the Wafi Golpu project.

“As planning minister we are already planning for a township at Nadzap and long term employees for Wafi-Golpu as far as I am concerned must live in Morobe and the income they generate must be used in Papua New Guinea, spent in Papua New Guinea, so we get back GST and the money must re-circulate within our economy,” Minister Maru said yesterday.

He said the situation where all resources are being depleted, all the monies end up in other countries all contribute to current issues being such as foreign currency shortages.

“As planning minister I do not support that, I want to see maximum benefit, families living here better, schools being built with the support of the resource companies, better towns being built.

“I want to say this and I make no apology to anyone. The best resource project that I have seen in my lifetime is the Bougainville copper mining project.

“They not only built a copper mine, they built a town, the best hospital, a supermarket, they provided international schools and all the families who were there and the benefits trickled around Bougainville.”

He said the model of BCL is need in the country.

“This is what will help to keep up the maximum revenue flows within this country and make sure that our country and this people will benefit of the wealth of our resources.”

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Police monitor tension at Wafi-Golpu mine

Police Commander : “It appears that all the oil, gas, mining and fishing projects happening around the country are faced with such problems”

Jimmy Kalebe | The National aka The Loggers Times | January 17, 2019

A SECTION of the police Mobile Squad 15 in Morobe has been deployed since last Friday to monitor the situation at Wafi-Golpu mine, Morobe police commander Alex N’Drasal says.

N’Drasal said yesterday that the situation was still tense and police were there to make sure law and order problems and other issues did not get out of hand.

Police were deployed after a stop-work notice was put out by some people claiming to be landowners of the mine.

Employees have not been turning up to work since.

N’Drasal said police would be there at the mine stir until the situation was under control and normalcy restored.

“Police are also there to make sure that properties are not damaged and workers are not disturbed or harassed,” he said.

“The mine site is quiet now and many employees have decamped while a skeleton staff still maintained in the area.”

N’Drasal said on Monday that two opposition clans fought each other after one group tried to burn a stop-work banner that was placed by the other last Friday.

“It appears that all the oil, gas, mining and fishing projects happening around the country are faced with such problems,” N’Drasal said.

He said all the members of parliament, leaders and representatives in Morobe should work together to address the issue.

“In many cases, it is the leaders who create the situation and allow for such inconveniences among the Government, developers and the landowners.”

N’Drasal said the Government had to be very careful when making decisions in relation to such impact projects, because when not careful, such problems arise.

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Landowners warned not to hurt mine workers

Erebiri Zurenuoc | The National aka The Loggers Times | January 14, 2019

MOROBE Governor Ginson Saonu has warned landowners who forced the suspension of the Wafi-Golpu mining project development not to damage properties or hurt the workers.

Workers were forced to leave last Friday by the group of people who wanted a list of demands they had sent to the chief executives of developers Harmony Gold Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd, and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, met.

Spokesman John Nema said the project would be closed for an indefinite period.

“We will not allow the developer to commence any operation on our customary land if any of our demands are overlooked,” he said.

Saonu said the provincial government had wanted to have a proper memorandum of understanding drawn up involving all parties.

“The mine should be open and the workers should feel free to move around,” he said.

“We agreed that the Government and the developers must revoke the MOU (they signed last month).”

Saonu said he recently visited the people of Hengambu, Babuaf and Yanta to gauge their views on the development.

“There was no intention to shut down the mine. It was about visiting the people, having discussions with them and letting them know that their government is with them,” he said.

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