Landowners shut down work at Ramu mine

National, Normal

Report and picture by JEFFREY ELAPA

THE Kurumbukari landowners of the Ramu nickel and cobalt mine in Madang province have stopped all operations at the mine.
This followed a meeting of landowners at the mine site over outstanding issues in the Memorandum of Agreement.
As all construction work nears completion, the landowners’ representatives from the road and water easement and the special mining lease area decided in the meeting to stop all work and demand that the company honour its MOA commitments.
This week, the company’s community affairs officers have been issuing notices to the people to stop all activities on the SML areas as the project was in its final stages before the commissioning expected around March.
Representatives of the seven clans also demanded that the relocation exercise be speeded up if they want the people to stop all activities like gardening, building new houses or burying their dead.
Mauru clan village leader Kaso Memetua said the company (MCC) should relocate them properly before any work can proceed at the mine.
Bruno Karima from the Mauri clan said the company should have already moved the first and second lot of people. He said it was slow in doing so.
MCC has tested the water supply and will be launching it this Friday, but the landowners said that they would not allow any activity until their grievances were settled.
All construction work at the mine is about to be completed, with several of the facilities installed at the different sites tested.
Among the facilities already installed are the six huge generators brought in from Finland which are expected to supply 22MW of power to the mine and the water resource area.
The huge dam at the Gagayowo River has already been completed.
The huge underground demarcation facility at Vianivi is in its final stages before full operation.
An MCC insider said that the company was doing all it could for the landowners but other parties like the provincial government and the National Government should also do their part under the MOA.