The National, Wednesday August 08th, 2012
By JAMES KILA
A GEOLOGIST from Sydney, Australia expressed “culture shock” following his return to the Kurumbukari Plateau where Ramu NiCo is currently developing the country’s first-ever nickel-cobalt project
William (Bill) McGee worked for Nord Resources from 1979 to 1986 when the company carried out drilling and exploration work at the Kurumbukari Plateau in Usino-Bundi, Madang.
“It’s like a ‘culture shock’ returning to Kurumbukari and noticing all these significant changes on the plateau,” he said.
McGee was working at the old Kurumbukari camp which at present is north-east of where the current mine is.
That camp was later taken over by later exploration company Highlands Pacific Ltd (HPL).
According to McGee, during the time he was there he did not see many people or any permanent settlements on the plateau.
The workers Nord Resources engaged as casuals to help out were mostly those from Danagari, situated on the Ramu Plains, which is below the plateau.
He said the current infrastructure development was immense compared to his time.
McGee was taken to Butua, the current Ramu NiCo mine plant site, and later to the mine pit.
He was met upon arrival by the Ramu NiCo chief geologist, Andrew Kohler, who presented a slide show on the project, then took him on a drive to the mine pit area.
McGee also recalled some of the locals he worked with including Abraham Tatagu and John Arua.
“John Arua was a very willing young man that time who helped us walk into the bushes to collect samples and carried loads to the camps after our trips out,” he recalled.
McGee was sad to be told that Tatagu was having problem with his eyes and resided at the Danagari relocation site in a house given to him by developer Ramu NiCo.
His other old-time friend, Arua, is now chairman of the Kurumbukari Landowners Association.