Hela governor urges landowners to work with provincial govt


HELA Governor Philip Undialu has urged landowners in Porgera to work with the provincial government to have all their concerns addressed at once.
He warned landowners not to sign agreements with any organisation that had no mandate in the Mining Development Contract or Hides LDS provisions.
Undialu said the Hela stakeholder position paper presented to the Government on Sept 20 captured their interests and other relevant stakeholders to the Porgera project at the provincial level.
He was responding to concerns raised by the 214 power pylon landowners to venture into the sales and purchase agreement of the power supply business.
He said pylon landowners were important stakeholders and their interest would be considered.
Undialu added that the provincial government had been working closely with the National Government, Oil Search Lrd and Barrick Niugini Ltd so all stakeholders was heard and addressed.
However, pylon land owners spokesperson Alfred Nelson told The National on Monday that the reason he and his fellow landowners had been pushing to purchase the business was because they did not want to be spectators on their own land and miss the opportunities to benefit from projects.
He said over the last 30 years, pylon land owners have watched in despair as basic government services had been delivered to communities around them.
The power pylons were erected on their land, carrying gas produced power from the resource projects to power the Porgera gold mine in neighbouring Enga.
“Community projects carried out by the Porgera Joint Venture have not benefited communities where the pylon power landowners are,” Nelson added.
He and other power pylon landowners from Hela and Enga, 214 in total, had joined forces and registered their own company and were determined to take ownership of the power supply business.
Nelson said the current commercial power sales and purchase agreement between Barrick Niugini Ltd and ExxonMobil would expire on Dec 21.
“We are petitioning the National Government, Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), our provincial government and all other relevant stakeholders to venture into the sales and purchase agreement,” he said.
Nelson outlined three reasons why pylon land owners were determined to take ownership of the power supply business.
“Our main message to the government and other stakeholders is that, we are not asking them to give to us for free, we want to make an offer to them and buy,” he said.
“Furthermore, we do not know how to operate, but we own 100 per cent so we will invite world renowned companies like Oil Search to manage and operate.”
Nelson said them taking ownership of the business would minimise all production issues from pylon vandalism.
“We are the project security for this project, the government doesn’t need to look further, give us the project,” he said.

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