Chief: settlers own no land

National, Normal

The National, Monday 30th July 2012

RESOURCE sector investors should always identify the rightful landowners of their licensed exploration areas and work with them to avoid more land-related problems.
Dr Gabriel Punipan, the chief landowner of the Punipan Tribe of Kompiam in Enga, is concerned that an Australian exploration company operating in Tekem and Lyorolam in Kompiam is working with settler clans instead of the true landowners.
Dr Punipan said it was great to hear that Quintessential Resources Ltd, the developer of the Tekem Exploration Company, tried to impress Western Highlanders and Engans with the donation of 120 boxes of books to Mt Hagen Secondary School and promised more for Engan schools.
 “The company needs to identify the legitimate landowners and work with them, as one of the most common problems in the highlands is land ownership issues,” he said.
Punipan warned that educated people claiming to be landowners should be aware of the real issues and not mislead companies as this will lead to conflict.
He said he had written to the Mineral Resources Authority expressing his people’s concerns but has not received any response.
“We will keep pursuing the MRA to revoke this exploration license on our land,” he said.