It’s time to start Wafi-Golpu mine


THIS refers to the article “Call for Govt to fast-track project” on Tuesday’s The National. The landowners of the special mining lease (SML) 10 of Wafi- Golpu gold and copper mine in Morobe – Hengambu, Yanta and Babuaf villages – represented by their respective association presidents, said the project has been delayed for too long and they want it to start. Their comments were in response to the judicial review proceedings on foot as instituted by the Morobe government pertaining to the environmental impact statement (EIS) for deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) as the preferred method of tailings management pursuant to provisions under the Environment Act. As per the EIS disclaimer, all possible environmental impacts of the entire project foot print were said to have been comprehensively mapped out in accordance with international best practice with necessary mitigation plans to be put in place. These so-called landowner’s association were incorporated by these named impacted villages that have user rights to SML land only and not the entire project foot print. According to a land investigation report by the Morobe administration, there are Wafes, Lerom and Morago clans in Babuaf village of Lower Watut, Wampar local level government (LLG), Huon Gulf, while there are Mapelu, Elmun Demag and Heambi clans in Hengambu village and Mapelu, Vunu and Ngevima clans in Yanta village. Hengambu and Yanta villages are from Middle Watut, Mumeng LLG, Bulolo. These clans and villages are affiliated members as per the requirement of their respective association rules whereby none of these clans has a land court order to prove legal ownership interest over the customary land where the proposed SML is located on. These association presidents have no legal standing and do not represent the SML landowner, which is a clan, with existing land court order (res-judicata) on absolute ownership interest to customary land where the proposed Wafi-Golpu SML is on. It is in everyone’s interest that the project is developed as soon as possible without fear or favour and in accordance with the law .

Concerned Citizen