Business plan to boost SME

The National,Tuesday July 5th, 2016

LIHIR mining area landowners on Friday launched a business concept aimed at assisting and driving them into owning small, medium and large enterprises.
The leverage system is a joint initiative between the Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association, Mineral Resources Lihir (MRL) Capital Limited and Nationwide Micro Bank (MiBank).
Addressing Lihir gold mine stakeholders including impacted landowners, their leaders and other Lihirians, provincial and local level government representatives, LMALA general manager Joachim Malele said the business initiative was aimed at delivering a sustainable future for Lihir people.
“While the focus for now will be on impacted area landowners and contributors of a LMALA-managed savings scheme, leveraging will also be rolled out to include all Lihirian people within and outside of the mining area.
“What we are launching today is securing prosperity; putting into action Lihirian initiatives for a sustainable future,” Malele said.
The leverage concept would be managed and rolled out by the LMALA Social Business Limited.
“This system will enable landowners to easily access commercial and individual loans through Nationwide Micro Bank Limited.
“MRL Capital will act as funds and investment manager.”
Malele said since taking over as LMALA’s general manager three months ago, his first task was to establish and implement an effective and easily-accessible business loan system for locals.
“We wanted to give landowners of Lihir an opportunity to access finance and to go into setting up small, medium and large business enterprises.
“The facility is basically based on what the landowners and LMALA staff have saved up over the years under a mobilisation of savings scheme.”
He said mobilisation of funds started in 2008 when LMALA and the landowners agreed to save 20 per cent of their royalties and 10 per cent of their land use payments from the mining activities on the island.
“The total that has been saved by the landowners to date is K26 million.
“So, on top of that decision, LMALA also has an agreement with Newcrest that if landowners save K1, Newcrest will match it with K1.40.
“This is the component that is still with Newcrest and we still need to work out what that amount is based on the agreement reached with the miner,” Malele said.
He said the launching was the beginning of a new initiative aimed at preparing and encouraging landowners to own businesses.