Landowners demand action

National

LANDOWNERS of the multi-billion kina PNG LNG project in Hela and Southern Highlands want the Government to fast track the clan-vetting process to ensure royalty and equity payments are made before December.
Landowner groups, led by Hides landowner leader and businessman Larry Andagali, chairmen and executives of various landowner groups in Petroleum Development Licence (PDL) areas of PDL 1, PDL 9, PDL 8 and PDL 7, raised these concerns in Port Moresby yesterday over the announcement made by the Department of Petroleum and Energy that  Mineral Resource Development Company would pay out K15 million in royalties to four plant-site clans in Central.
“Since the start of  this multi-billion kina project to this date, when exports are made out of the country for almost four years, not a single toea of royalty payment was made to the landowners,” Andagali said.
“We have signed agreement after agreement and memorandum of agreements between the Government and the developers but nothing of these agreements have been honoured.
“Some of these agreements were fully endorsed by the National Executive Council but it only collects dust  somewhere in Waigani and we haven’t seen any outcome as yet.”
The landowners said that the clan-vetting process was a simple process that could be completed in two to three months but the Department of Petroleum and Energy, the Mineral Resource Development Company (MRDC) and the project developers  failed the resource owners.
“Shipments of LNG have been made since 2014 and yet the landowners have not receive a single toea in royalty payments,” Andagali said.
“What is going on?
“All Hela leaders – Governor Philip Undialu and the three open MPs – must work together with the national government to address these landowner issues. We want the national government through the DPE, the very custodian of protecting landowners’ interest the MRDC, Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd and developer ExxonMobil to work together to complete this clan-vetting process and landowners paid out their
royalties and equities before December.
“If the Government cannot do that before December, they must know that they are sitting on a time bomb and it must be done sooner.”

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