Benefits not shared properly: Lawyer


A GOVERNMENT lawyer has conceded that benefits from the Lihir gold operations have not been properly shared since 1997 when the mine began operations.
Benjamin Passingan, the principal legal officer with the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa), told the people of Londolovit last week in Lihir that their concerns pertaining to lack of benefits “are substantive issues. It raised powerful issues that the State is required to take note of in terms of benefit sharing”.
“We, the State, need to find answers to these issues in an expeditious manner,” he said.
“It is good that we are hearing it now from the (Londolovit) people. The issue of the LMALA (Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association) is now becoming clearer.”
Passingan was responding to a six-page submission by the Londolovit water resource owners of Lihir Island.
The Londolovit River is where Newcrest Mining, the operator of the Lihir Gold Limited, extracts water from for its operations.  Passingan was one of the four officers from Cepa sent as an “advance team” to Lihir to look at outstanding water issues of the Londolovit community.
Cepa’s deputy managing director Dilu Muguwa was impressed with the detailed responses by the people through the Londolovit Sagomana Association. He promised to pass on their grievances to the Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change John Pundari.
Muguwa said a team comprising officers from the Mineral Resources Authority, Cepa, State-Solicitor and Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council would visit them again on October 24 to reply to their grievances.

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