By SHIRLEY MAULUDU
LANDOWNERS from the Wafi-Golpu project impact area of Babuaf and the Morobe government have agreed for a tailings dam to be built on land rather than have waste from the mine dumped into the sea.
That was highlighted during the signing of a memorandum of understand (MOU) between the parties in Port Moresby yesterday.
Governor Ginson Saonu said he would always support what he deemed to be beneficial to the people.
“My position as governor is that the people in the province should benefit from the project as according to what they are entitled for,” he said.
“I do not want the country to repeat any mistakes from the previous mining projects with Wafi-Golpu project.
Among core matters agreed on in the MoU were:
l THEY will not agree for the developer of Wafi-Golpu project to construct and build necessary infrastructure for a deep-sea tailing placement as currently proposed and will insist on finding a safer alternative, including a terrestrial tailings dam and any other effective terrestrial system to be explored by the developer; and,
l The Babuaf shall make available land for a tailings dam to be constructed by the developer provided such a site is considered as meeting the minimum technical specifications for terrestrial tailing dam construction.
Babuaf chief Esra Kwako said he was aware the project had huge resource potential.
And that the people’s plea for more benefit should be taken into consideration by the Government and developer.
Prime Minister James Marape, during a recent Parliament sitting, said the project would be a large-scale underground mining project and was ranked as a world-class copper-gold resource.
“This project is situated in Morobe, between Huon Gulf and Wau-Bulolo,” he said.
“The project is owned by Harmony Gold Mining Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd on a 50-50 shareholding basis.
“If the State decides to exercise its right to take 30 per cent equity, both companies will proportionately dilute their shareholding.”
Marape said the project would be developed in three stages over a total life-span of 28 years at a cost of US$5.4 billion (K18.48bil). However, Marape also said a critical issue the Government was concerned about was the project’s mine waste management plan, where deep sea tailing placement had been recommended.
“The State is having discussions with WGJV (Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture) on why this has been proposed and the level of impact on the environment,” he said.
“Additionally, the Government is now finalising the fiscal and non-fiscal terms for negotiation consistent with the policy directive or mandates, with a view to signing the project agreement by the end of September.”
By SHIRLEY MAULUDU