By JAMES G KILA
THE country’s first nickel/cobalt mine developer, Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd recognises churches as vital development partners in addressing the current socio-economic situations in the country.
This was evident in the commitment made in its revised memorandum of agreement to pay 1 per cent of landowner royalties to churches for their evangelism work.
Last week one of project landowner associations, Coastal Pipeline Landowner Association(CPL-LOA) set the pace when it commenced distributing solar panel kits to churches in the project impact areas in the Astrolabe Bay LLG of Rai Coast district in Madang.
The items were purchased from 1 per cent of royalty payment which the LOA decided to set aside to assist the churches in the Ramu NiCo impacted communities in the Coastal Pipeline area of the Ramu nickel/cobalt project in the Astrolabe Bay LLG.
“The 1 per cent is like an offering to the churches by the Coastal Pipeline Landowner Association in the last revised MOA of 2013,” chairman of the CPL LOA, Jeffrey Kinang Gamrai explained.
Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) in July this year made its first royalty payment of over K17 million to landowners covering its four impacted areas of Kurumbukari, Inland Pipeline (Maigari), Coastal Pipeline and Basamuk. The Company also paid over K7 million to the Madang provincial government.
Gamrai further clarified that the CPL LOA made a submission to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) to assist churches within their impact area and that was assessed and approved.
The CPLLOA in the submission proposed for the purchase of solar kits (including installation) for mainline churches for a start given the large number of churches, a cash component of K1,000 each to 40 churches as well as logistics costs.
The solar kits were purchased from Brian Bell Ltd in Madang at a cost of approximately K57,000 and would be distributed to 40 churches in the three main areas of Marika, Bugati and Siroi in Astrolabe Bay LLG.
“We began the first phase of distributing the solar kits starting at Lalok, Bom, Bogadzim and had moved further to Marakum in the Siroi area since early this week,” Gamrai said.
He said the installation of the solar kits in the individual churches would be done by a technician from Brian Bell.
The Coastal Pipeline LOA is the first landowner association in the Ramu NiCo project to commence utilising its 1 per cent royalty allocation to churches.
Gamrai saidall the committee members of the Coastal Pipeline Landowner Association agreed to this after completing a church survey from Bauri to Bibi in the Astrolabe Bay LLG in Rai Coast
“The committee also agreed that the Mineral Resources Authority advise Ramu NiCo (MCC) to release the churches’ 1 per cent royalty payment to the association for payment to the churches in material form,” Gamrai said.
He added that churches along the Coastal Pipeline area of Ramu NiCo Project in Astrolabe Bay LLG of Rai Coast in wards one to 15 submitted the names of the denominations to receive their share of royalties under the Revised (2013) Ramu NiCo Project MOA.
- James Kila is a supervisor with the Public Relations section of Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd in Madang.