Tag Archives: John Pundari

Pundari Cautions KPHL Against Confusing Public, Private Monies

Post Courier | July 31, 2019

The Public Accounts Committee chairman Sir John Pundari has cautioned Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited management against confusing public funds with private revenue.

He said this yesterday following a letter from KPHL director Wapu Sonk outright rejecting to meet with the permanent parliamentary committee and present their audit reports.

In a media statement yesterday, Sir John said that KPHL needed to identify the clear distinction between the two different types of funding and subject themselves under the same scrutiny as other statutory bodies.

He said that as an organisation which was instituted by the Independent State of PNG (by operation of the Kumul Petroleum Authorization Act 2015), KPHL was subject to scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee.

Sir John that the overarching consideration in the matter was the Constitution. And that in the event of any contradictions with other laws, that applicable provisions within the Constitution naturally overruled these contradictions.

“KPHL merely collects on resources (property) owned by the people of Papua New Guinea and this is where the mandate of the Public Accounts Committee kicks in. The Public Accounts Committee’s key function is to examine and report to the parliament on the public monies and property of Papua New Guinea,” said Sir John.

“This is a constitutional mandate under Section 216 of the Constitution, the mother law hence any other laws whose provisions are contrary to the Constitution is invalid to the extent of that contradiction.”

This statement was made following a recent statement by KPHL chairman Andrew Baing that KPHL was a government business governed by its own laws, and was not subject to the Public Finance Management Act.

The ongoing stalemate between the Public Accounts Committee and KPHL reached a head last Wednesday when the PAC gave KPHL two weeks to produce details of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments and payments since the first delivery in 2014.

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Environmental audit set for mines: Pundari

Ok Tedi. Photo by Glen Barry/Greenpeace.

Don’t hold your breath, CEPA and its predecessor, DEC, have been asleep for decades…

Luke Kama | The National aka The Loggers Times | February 4, 2019
MINISTER for Environment Conservation and Climate Change John Pundari says an independent environmental audit on Ok Tedi mine in the Western, Porgera in Enga and Ramu Nickel in Madang will be undertaken this year.
Pundari said this in Parliament on Thursday when responding to a series of questions raised by Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta on the new Ok Tedi Environment Management Bill (OTEMB) that was passed by Parliament on Wednesday, and pollution caused by the Ok Tedi Mine to Fly River and the surrounding environment.
“The Ok Tedi Environment Management Bill was crucial to regulate the Ok Tedi mine, which is in its advanced state of operation, to protect the environment and the livelihood of local communities,” he said.
“The mine will be issued an environment permit under Section 13 of the Ok Tedi Environment Management Act (OTEMA).
“That enables the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa) to require the company to carry out periodic monitoring of the river systems to ensure that the environmental values defined in the permit are maintained.”
Pundari said any new activity that would take place outside the areas covered under the would be regulated through the Environment Act 2000.
“These activities are considered new activities and would require full environment impact assessment to be done on the proposed activity, before a decision is made under the Environment Act 2000,” he said.
Pundari said with respect to concerns on pollution in the Gulf of Papua, and other environmental concerns, Cepa would undertake an independent audit of Ok Tedi this year.
“Cepa will undertake an independent audit of the Ok Tedi mine this year, as it is necessary to determine the state of the environment, particularly with respect to the defined environmental values,” he said.
“Cepa will also conduct an independent environmental audit into Porgera mine, as the mine life comes to a closure, and as well for the Ramu Nickel Mine with report made to the public.”
Pundari said the audit would also assist to determine the areas of focus and future areas of environmental management and monitoring.

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Pundari discusses impact of Frieda mine

Sssh – don’t mention the Chinese!

Funny how the media can report so many ‘facts’ about the proposed Frieda river mine, including, supposedly its ownership, but leave out the fact that it is the Chinese State owned Guangdong Rising Assets Management Co. Ltd (GRAM) that owns PanAust, the company developing the mine…

The National aka The Loggers Times | December 21, 2017

THE Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) has received a notification of intention by PanAust to develop the Frieda gold mine as required under the Environment Act 2000.

As part of the process to obtain an Environment Permit to develop the mine, the company has met the initial requirements of the legal process by submitting to the Director for Environment an Environment Inception Report.

Information CEPA has to date on the proposed gold mine is contained in the Environment inception Report.

Based on the EIR the following information is known by CEPA:

Copper mineralisation was first identified at Freida River in 1966/67, with the first exploration permit (termed a Prospecting Authority) held by Mount Isa Mines Ltd.
Since that time, the area has had a long history of exploration activities undertaken by numerous companies, with exploration permits held from 1967 to the present day.
The project is located within the Sepik River catchment and would comprise development of the Horse-Ivaal-Trukai, Ekwai and Koki (HITEK) copper-gold deposit in Telefomin district, West Sepik.
The project lies some 200km south of the northern coastline of mainland PNG and 75km east of the border with the West Papuan province of Indonesia.
The project would be developed by FRL, a company owned by copper and gold producer PanAust Limited on behalf of the joint venture between FRL and Highlands Frieda Limited (HFL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Highlands Pacific Limited (HPL).
These deposits contain significant gold and copper with an estimated mine life of 17 years.
The main activities associated with the development of the project would include:

  • A sire access road from the Sepik River to the mine site;
  • mining will be done via an open pit mine;
  • placing waste rock and tailings into an integrated storage facility;
  • processing ore in a conventional concentrator at a site adjacent to the open pit;
  • copper-gold concentrate transportation by pipeline to a Sepik River port then barging along the Sepik River and northern coast of PNG to the proposed concentrate export facility located at Cape Moem near Wewak;
  • power generation during operations using an intermediate fuel oil (IFO) power station then augmented by a hydroelectric power station;
  • an airport constructed at Kaugumi Creek to transport personnel to and from the site;
  • the viability of the Project reflects a combination of economic, engineering environmental and social consideration that have been assessed and presented in FRL’s proposal for development; and,
  • The proponent for the project is FRL as manager of the Freida River Joint Venture and on behalf of joint venture participants FRL and HFL.
  • The participants and their equity in the project are: PanAust Ltd (80 per cent), Highlands Freida Limited (20 per cent).

Pan Aust Limited is a copper and gold producer in Southeast Asia and has a portfolio of organic growth projects in Laos and Chile.

Processing method
The mine processing method will involve conventional crushing grinding and flotation circuit.
Mine tailings and waste rock will be contained within an engineered Integrated Storage Facility (ISF).
The mine will also have quarries to provide materials for the construction of dams, roads, water diversion bunds, infrastructure pads and the construction of the ISF embankment.

Power supply
During the construction phase, power generation will be provided by diesel generators.
Following construction phase and during operations, a portion of the power will be supported by hydroelectric power.

Raw water requirement & supply
The Nena River will supply all raw water requirements for the mine.

Main access road
A main access road will connect the Sepik River port, Kaugumi Creek airport, Freida River airstrip, IFO power station, ISF, process plant, mine infrastructure area and accommodation camps.

River ports
Construction: Freida River port and Sepik River port will accommodate transport of construction materials to the mine site.
The Wario River port, adjacent to Nekiel, will provide access for construction of the main access roads.
Operations: The Sepik River port will be used for import of equipment and consumables and export of concentrate. A tugboat refuelling facility will be located at Pagwi and a mooring point will be located upstream of Yambon Gate.

Mine equipment and consumable will be received at the Port of Wewak where it will be transferred to barges, transported to the Sepik River and then trucked to site. Concentrate will be transported in barges along the Sepik River and the Bismark coast to a new concentrate export facility at Cape Moem.
Accommodation construction: Main (mine camp) – accommodation for 1500 personnel and various other accommodation facilities at different locations.
Construction: Peak construction workforce of 3720 personnel.
Operations: About 2000 personnel with a further 1000 ISF contractors in Years 1 to 9 ongoing construction campaigns for the ISF.

Main airport
Existing Freida River airstrip to start followed by a new airport to be constructed at Kaugumi Creek.

Tailings management
Integrated Storage Facility (ISF) will be constructed in the lower Nena River catchment about 4.5km upstream of its confluence with the Ok Binai.
Along with the large open-pit void, it will be the most prominent feature of the mine.
The primary design objective of the ISF is to safely store tailings and waste produced by the mining and milling operation.
This design has been subject to international expert peer review by Pan Aust’s ITGRP, which has been established to access the adequacy of the design of the ISF and the underlying studies informing this design, and to provide recommendations on additional studies or evaluations to address areas of uncertainty.

Environment regulatory process
The environment regulatory requirements for satisfying the environment impact assessment process as contained in the Environment Act 2000 is as follows:

  • Submission of EIR;
  • approval of EIR;
  • conduct of environment impact assessment;
  • submission of EIS;
  • stakeholder consultation on EIS;
  • preparation of submission to Environment Council;
  • Environment Council recommendation to Minister;
  • minister’s approval-in-principle; and,
  • Director of Environment issues Environment Permit.

The above process can take up nine months to complete and is also dependent on adequacy to technical information submitted.
CEPA will also conduct its independent peer review on critical aspects of the project submissions will then be presented to the Environment Council for deliberation and recommendation to the minister to issue an AIP.

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Experimental Seabed Mining Project Advances, Papua New Guinea Locals Consider Lawsuit

Concept art of bulk cutter. Image: N.R.Fuller

Concept art of bulk cutter. Image: N.R.Fuller

Free Speech Radio News | January 12, 2017 

The deep seas are some of the most uncharted ecosystems in the world. Scientists say we know more about the surface of the moon than the deep seas. Yet the world’s first commercial deep sea mining operation for gold, copper and silver in the Bismarck Sea could be underway in just a year. But, as Georgia Clark reports, Papua New Guinea locals are considering a lawsuit, calling for greater transparency and fearing the project could cause irreversible damage to one of the world’s few pristine frontiers.

In the next hundred years, humankind is set to face ever more pressing environmental challenges. With climate change already taking hold, scientists say conservation is crucial. But economies with growing populations continue to depend on finite resources, like fossil fuels and minerals, pushing exploration for deposits into new frontiers. And that quest for resources has come to an underwater biosphere off the coast of Papua New Guinea’s New Ireland Province.

“These deep sea hydrothermal vents are some of the most remarkable biological communities ever discovered and they were only very recently discovered in the 1970s,” says marine biologist, professor Richard Steiner, who has been studying the area and the life it sustains. “The rarity of this ecosystem is extraordinary, it could be the most rare ecosystem type in the biosphere of this planet.”

Canadian mining company, Nautilus Minerals, has been developing a plan to extract high-grade deposits of copper, gold, zinc and silver on the seabed near the mineral-rich underwater Hydrothermal Vent Systems. According to their Environmental Impact Statement, remote-controlled seafloor mining devices would collect ore that will be sent to the surface for processing. Known as the Solwara 1 project, the 25-acre underwater site is slated to become the world’s first commercial seabed mine.

But the project has been under fire, with critics arguing that the environmental risks are too high and, more recently, calling on Nautilus to be more transparent.

“For the past four years the deep sea mining campaign and also communities in Papua New Guinea have been calling on the government and Nautilus to release documents around this project,” explains Natalie Lowrey, media coordinator at the Deep Sea Mining campaign. “If they don’t there could be a situation where communities there look at a legal challenge.”

Some Papua New Guinea locals have raised concerns about the government’s 15 percent stake in the project.

“The PNG government is so corrupt that it’s very difficult to monitor and regulate projects like this. Given the situation, it’s a stakeholder and therefore there is a conflict of interest and we don’t think it will carry out the responsibility of regulating and monitoring this project effectively,” says John Chitoa, a coordinator with Bismark Ramu, an NGO that represents Papuans opposed to the project. “To make matters worse, the conservation minister was formerly the mining minister; he was the one who licensed Nautilus.”

Chitoa says Indigenous communities in PNG also worry about how mining operations could disrupt longstanding cultural practices closely linked to the local environment: “The sea is their welfare, their livelihood – it’s the source of food. The people in New Island also use the sea for bathing, cooking. In the past people used to use sea as graveyard as well. In the west coast of New Island, they still practice shark calling.”

FSRN sent multiple interview requests to Nautilus Minerals over a three-week period. A company representative said Nautilus CEO Mike Johnston would be unavailable for comment until after the story’s publication.

In past statements, Nautilus Minerals has expressed confidence that cutting edge technology will allow the company to mine the seabed in an environmentally responsible way. But Professor Steiner, who conducted his own independent study into the proposed mine, says the project warrants extreme caution.

“Scientifically, there’s just too many unknowns about these deep sea vent communities, so we really can’t accurately predict what the impacts will be,” Steiner points out. “But we do know that they will be severe on a local scale and they could actually be severe and long lasting – there could be species extinctions caused just on this 11 hectare site.”

While some environmentalists argue there is insufficient conclusive evidence to give the world’s first commercial deep sea mine the green light, Nautilus argues the benefits of deep sea mines outweigh those of terrestrial mines.

“I think that the one thing Nautilus has done well is that they’ve been very good about collecting scientific information. They’ve been very open about what they’ve found in terms of the biodiversity,” says Professor Elaine Baker, an expert in the sustainable use of marine resources at the University of Sydney. “They’ve have engaged top scientists from around the world to do the environmental impact study, and they’ve taken note of criticism – they’ve actually really progressed the science and our understanding of these organisms by the number of studies that they’ve done.”

Copper density in the Solwara deposit is reputedly several times higher than what is typical in terrestrial mines. It’s copper that Nautilus says will help meet worldwide demand for goods like smartphones and computers. Natalie Lowrey of the Deep Sea Mining campaign says consumers need to consider costs behind the price tag.

“Solwara 1 is gold and copper. We don’t really need any more gold – 80 percent of gold is used for jewelry, it’s not a necessity. Copper, yes, I can understand, copper is used in a lot of things, but these are things that could be recycled,” Lowrey points out. “We could really look at it like the idea of urban mining in the economy is actually cradle to cradle, so actually the way we design our products in the first place that they can last longer but also we’re able to extract the minerals and metals from there in the best way possible.”

While Nautilus has outlined mitigation strategies, such as transplanting sea animals in the path of the mines, with the integrity of their sea life and cultural practices at stake, locals say court action is foreseeable. With operations set to commence in 2018, the clock is ticking.


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Benefit sharing remains a great challenge


Cyril Gare | PNG Blogs | 17 October 2016

Resource development, ownership, and fair and equal sharing of benefits accrued from development projects such as mining and oil and gas remain a biggest challenge yet for Papua New Guinea 41 years on as an Independent country.

And the people of Londolovit on Lihir island, New Ireland province are among one such group of resource owners who are still searching for a correct matrix to balance the scale.

They own the traditional Londolovit river where Newcrest Mining Limited (NML) operator of the Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) extracts water for its operations since 1995.

Their fight is three fold between LMALA (Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association) who are owners of the “gold”, LGL, and State.

Their issues have been to:

  • get LMALA to acknowledge them as “water” resource owners and remit adequate benefit as possible under the Integrated Benefit Package (IBP) of the Lihir mine Agreement which stand is justified on the premise that water is fundamental in gold processing without water there will be no gold;
  • LGL to acknowledge and sign a new water use and impact agreement with them as the current water impact agreement was obsolete since it was first created in 1998 and does not include payment for water use except environment impact; and
  • State to acknowledge them as original and traditional owners of the Londolovit river and not State as stipulated in the Environment Act 2000 so that State to create a separate facility (trust account) for them to share with State all monies paid to State by LGL as issuer of water permit and “owner” (in their stead) of Londolovit river. 

It has been four years since the search for answers began. Delegation after delegation and costly trips between Lihir and Port Moresby were taken only to become a “football” kicked here and there between MRA (Mineral Resources Authority) and CEPA (Conservation and Environment Protection Authority) each shrugging off liability and responsibility alike over the Londolovit water resource owners’ issue.

It was in February this year after LGL refused to become a party in a new proposed Londolovit river water use and impact agreement that prompted the Office of the Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari (Office of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council) to show some sign of interest and intervention.

Directions were issued to CEPA to re-look at the issues of the Londolovit community. This also prompted the Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate, Hon. John Pundari to intervene and getting CEPA off its comfort zone at the Beemobile building at Gordons.

LGL had refused to become a party to sign on a new proposed water use and impact agreement that will supersede the obsolete Supplementary Agreement of 1998 which only cater for a minimal payment of K300,000 per annum for environment impacts on their traditional Londolovit river where LGL has a weir which extracts water for its mining operations.

The creation of the Londolovit Sagomana Association (LSA) through the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) on 16th February, 2016 was a breath of relief and new lease of energy and confidence to further pursue their long standing water fight.

On the 09th September, 2016, LSA Chairperson, Ms. Roselyne Arau led a small delegation to Port Moresby and held talk with Minister Pundari.

Among others, the K113 million claim against LGL for water extraction “over and above” permitted rates were discussed. Failure by State (CEPA) to effectively regulate and monitor water extraction by LGL according to the conditions of the water permit was also discussed with the view for State to admit liability for negligence.

The good Minister agreed to look into these outstanding issues and sort these issues before Christmas out once and for all. Prior to doing so, he arranged for an advance team led by CEPA’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Dilu Muguwa to travel to Lihir for fact finding and for a report to be presented to him within two weeks.

The advance team travelled to Lihir on October 11, met with LSA on October 12 and went through a total of nine (9) terms of references (OR) set by Environment Ministry and returned to Port Moresby on October 13.

As a State Team comprising officers from State Solicitor, MRA, CEPA, and department of PM and NEC is set to follow suit on October 24, the people of Londolovit were grateful of Minister Pundari and Chief Secretary, Ambassador Isaac Lupari for their interventions and are hoping for better soon.

In its six page written submission to CEPA’s advance team, LSA stated among other issues and demands that: “Water and Gold are two different resources. Under the existing benefit sharing arrangements such as the Integrated Benefit Package (IBP) only “gold” resource owners through LMALA tend to enjoy all the benefits compared to “water” resource owners and rest of the impacted surrounding communities on Lihir island. Although water remains the single most important resource needed to process gold, this fact has been long overlooked since the start of the mine in 1995/1997.

“The IBP is subject to jurisdiction of the LMALA management which experience so far has proven that LMALA was only bias and lack the virtue of ‘equal and fair sharing’ of benefits to the water supplying community of Londolovit and or other impacted surrounding communities. Perhaps this is to do with the mineral resource development regime in the country where “gold” resource owners are given more recognition by State and developers than “water” resource owners in mining activity areas in PNG.

“Poor management resulting in recent investigations (Business Audit) into the affairs of LMALA can only further confirm the general feeling of mistrust for LMALA management and its executives among the impacted communities on Lihir island.

“What we want:  The formation of the Londolovit Sagomana Association (LSA) which was registered with the Investment Promotion Authority on the 16th February, 2016 was an affirmation for succession away from the umbrella of LMALA who has failed to adequately stand for and in the interest of the Londolovit water resource owners since 1997.

Among others, LSA’s principal objectives in the Association’s Constitution are simply straight to the point: 

  • to conduct, encourage, promote, advance and administer development aspirations of the Londolovit people from the proceeds of Londolovit River Weir where the Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) is extracting water from for its mine operations; and 
  • to act, at all times, on behalf of and in the interest of the Members and the Association as a mining impact community. 
  • In a letter dated 14th March, 2016 to Coordinator of the Lihir Agreement Review (LAR) committee, LSA blatantly stated: “We intend to pursue our own interest as “water” resource owners in the Lihir gold project for a separate benefit package of our own. We want to have nothing to do with LMALA and the LAR process. 
  • LMALA and LGL to honour all outstanding benefits owed to Londolovit under IBP. 
  • MRA (Mining Warden) and LGL to review and honour all outstanding benefits/compensation owed to Londolovit under LMP 34 and ME 73 tenements. 
  • Option A – State to create a trust account where payments receive from LGL for the “use” of water is shared with Londolovit as traditional (original) owners of the water. The metamorphosis ‘State’ is supposed to be “custodian” to properties of traditional and customary landowners and not itself “owner”. The sacrosanctity of customary/traditional properties rights is in this way lost and stolen by this beast forever. 
  • Option B – State to intervene and impose on the LGL to review its decision why it refused to become a party to the new proposed water agreement by LSA (Londolovit). This proposed water agreement stemmed from Recommendation # 4 of the CEPA sanctioned Londolovit River Environmental Audit Report –August 2015 by Moroka Pty Ltd. 
  • Option C – All State, LGL and LSA to become parties to an all new proposed water agreement over the Londolovit river for its use, impact, and benefit sharing with the view to reaching a long lasting win win situation for all parties in future. 
  • State and LGL to resolve to an amicable outcome and pay K113 million as compensation to the Londolovit people for over extraction of their water illegally.
  • LMALA and LGL to honour all outstanding benefits owed to Londolovit under IBP. 
  • Copy of the Business Development Audit Report be provided to us forthwith for perusal and record.
  • Until Londolovit is more involved and participating from the benefits from the Lihir mining operation Lihir Agreement Review (LAR) is insignificant to the Londolovit water resource owners at its current stage. 

At the time of meeting (October 12) in Lihir, the LAR process attended by a State Team, LMALA, and LGL was in progress in Kavieng without LSA attendance after request by LAR coordination team was turned down.

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Black list Sinivit Mine developer – Pundari

Mining Minister happy to pick on the small guys – what about the human rights record of Barrick Gold or the environmental damage caused by Newcrest Mining? Why no action against the big boys Mr Pundari?


Joy Kisselpar | PNG Loop

Environment and Conservation Minister John Pundari says he wants Sinivit gold mine developer New Guinea Gold Corporation blacklisted so that they will not carry out any more mining activity in Papua New Guinea.

He says he is concerned about the way the State is allowing small companies take part in mining activities in the country.

“Such companies that do not have a strong mining back ground and proven corporate track record in responsible mining practices,” he added.

He says such companies should never be allowed in the country.

Pundari also suggested the government should establish environment bonds which can be used in the event of environmental damages.

He will be bringing a bill on this issue to parliament next year.

Pundari to take mining firm to task
The National aka The Loggers Times
Environment and Conservation Minister John Pundari says he will hold Canadian company Niugini Gold Ltd responsible for abandoning the Wild Dog gold mine at the Siniwit LLG in Pomio district without proper consultation.
Pundari told Parliament yesterday that technical officers from his department, who undertook site visits to the mine after reports of a disappearing act by the developer in April 2014, confirmed there was cyanide pollution to the river systems and other environmental dilemma caused from mining activities.
“The developer failed its corporate social responsibility and legal obligation to notify the proper authorities, especially the Mineral Resources Authority and my department regarding its intention to close the mine,” he said.
“I will use every legal means possible to have the developer answerable to the environmental dilemma it has caused and created.”
Pundari assured locals that the water was within safe levels for consumption.
He was responding to Pomio MP who raised concerns on the environmental catastrophe caused by mining activities.

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MCC heavyweights in PNG to protest lack of profits and seek further subsidies

MCC's Ramu mine headquarters in Madang

MCC’s Ramu mine headquarters in Madang

A delegation of senior MCC officials from China have been in Papua New Guinea this week to protest about the lack of profits from the Ramu nickel mine and seek further concessions from the government on top of their existing 10-year tax holiday and government subsidies for vital infrastructure and landowner negotiations.

MCC vice president Xiao Xuewen and chairman of Ramu NiCo management Zong Shaoxing spent Sunday and Monday meeting with Government ministers, including  Mining Minister Byron Chan, Environment Minister John Pundari and Transport and Infrastructure Minister William Duma, in Port Moresby.

China Metallurgical Corporation (MCC), is the major financier and shareholder in the Ramu nickel mine.,

MCC is looking for further government support as the Ramu mine is yet to deliver any profits since construction started 10 years ago and losses are expected to increase this year as world metal price slump and many mining companies around the world are shutting down operations

Xuiwen told the government that in order to prevent mine workers, contractors and suppliers from losing their jobs, it was necessary for “MCC Group and Government to put a joint effort to ensure survival and development of the project”.

MCC says Minister Chan assured that his office and the Mineral Resources Authority would be doing their best to help the Chinese.

Environment Minister John Pundari told the Chinese his department would continue to assist and support the development of the Ramu mine – clearly forgetting that his department’s role is supposed to be as an environmental watchdog ensuring the highest standards and protecting the people and environment rather than providing a support service for foreign mining companies!

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