Authority silent on threat by landowners


THE Mineral Resources Authority is silent on a threat by landowners to disrupt the Ramu Nikel project in Madang.
The four landowner associations in a statement last week demanded that the Government immediately release their outstanding business development grant of K10 million.
The authority declined to comment on the threat when approached for a comment by The National.
The chairmen of the four landowner associations are Tobby Bare from Kurumbukari, Peter Tai from inland, Jeffery Gamrai from coastal and Sama Mallembo of Basamuk.
They claimed that the Government was ignoring its commitment to the Ramu Nickel project landowners.
“If the Government thinks that the Ramu project is not important to the national economy and the country’s bilateral relationship with China,  then we will disrupt the project,” Bare said.
“We have waited since 2006 when former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare made the commitment of K20 million.
“ K10 million was released in 2011 by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
“We are now demanding the release of the balance K10m.”
They requested in a letter dated August 10 to O’Neill to release the remaining K10m. It was intended as seed capital to support the four landowner companies – KBK Ltd , Maigari Ltd, Wass Matau Ltd and Basamuk Enterprises.
The landowner companies urgently need the funding to increase capacity to compete with companies outside and within the project area for contracts, they said.
The Ramu Nickel Project boasts a total reserve of 140 million tons of nickel.

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