Govt to support NIP till mine closure

National, Normal


MINING Minister John Pundari has assured the New Ireland provincial government (NIPG), the Lihir special mining lease landowners and Nimara rural local level government (NRLLG) that the national government will continue to fund its special support grant (SSG) and infrastructure development (IDG) till the Lihir mine closure.
“I call on every New Irelander in their right mind to carefully weigh the mistreatment and injustice suffered by their kinsmen at the hands of the Government over the last 15 years of Lihir gold,” he said in a statement.
In that period, the government has paid out K207.6 million in SSG, IDG and royalty grants.
Pundari said under the Lihir gold mine (LGM) memorandum of agreement (MoA), the government is required to provide a number of grants to the NIPG, the SSG and the IDG.
He said since 1997 when the mine commenced production, a total of K62.2 million in SSG and K26.5 million were paid by the government.
“Apart from those grants, there are four major infrastructure project that were to be undertaken by the government as agreed to in the original MoA signed on March 17, 1995,” Pundari said.
“These include the upgrading and maintenance of the following infrastructure: sealing of Buluminski Highway, expansion of Kavieng Airport and Kavieng wharf and upgrading of Namatanai Hospital.
“I acknowledged that except for the upgrading of the Buluminski Highway which has been allocated an additional K20 million last year, the remaining three infrastructures project have not been completed on time and within budget,” he added.
Pundari stressed that under the LGM MoAs, the Government has foregone all its royalty benefits from the mine to various parties including the NIPG and subsequently the Kavieng and Namatanai district since the execution of the revised LGM MoA in 2007.
He outlined that the royalty payments to each beneficiary over each period from 1997 till last year.