Discussions to continue on Lihir mine MOA

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday February 4th, 2014

 A REVISED memorandum of agreement will be further discussed this week between the landowners of the Lihir gold mine and the New Ireland provincial government.

The landowners are angry over the length of time the Government is taking to review the agreement.

They want to fast-track the signing of the agreement which will represents their collective position on the increase in benefits for them from the mine.

They believe that the mine had for the past 15 years provided unacceptably small returns to the very people who owned the source of the wealth.

The Government assumed the ownership of all minerals under the Mining Act 1992 to ensure that the landowners received reasonable benefits.

They had spent the past three years  reviewing the memorandum of agreement and the integrated benefits package which forms the compensation package to mine-affected communities.

The parties have all agreed that the basic key to real autonomy is a fair return from the wealth being taken out of their land.

Nimamar local level government president Ambrose Sulil said: “We are tired of waiting for the Government to give us a fair deal. The people of New Ireland, the landowners, the LLG and the provincial government will now take control of the situation and insist on a fair deal.”

Governor Sir Julius Chan said after 18 years of operation on Lihir, New Crest and the Government repeatedly breached the agreement signed in 1995 by not implementing projects. 

“New Ireland is filling the Government purse with no return to our people,” he said.