Landowners worried

Letters

SERIOUS questions are now bothering us, the landowners of Kurumbukari, Basamuk and the people of Madang at large.
The status of the Ramu Nickel & Cobalt Mining operation has reached extreme point of concern and requires accurate information to be made known to the indigenous people of Madang.
Initially, Highlands Pacific sold off the mining license to MCC, developer of Ramu Nickel and Cobalt project.
Subsequently, a meeting was convened in Beijing, China and an agreement was signed on compulsory land acquisition between the developer MCC, respective Madang MPs and the government of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and former Madang Governor James Yali.
When the infrastructure phase of the mine was completed, waste disposal system became an issue.
At that time, Sir Arnold Amet was the Governor of Madang and one of the signatories to allow the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) to be constructed.
In 2010, the land title holders (Lutheran Church), landowners and concern parties obtained court injunction to stop DSTP waste disposal system but resulted in the court’s decision to monitor the facility on quarterly basis by MCC.
This order was allegedly overlooked by MCC which resulted in the slurry spillage that contaminated the sea water.
As a result Madang government issued a precautionary ban on fish and all marine foods based on substantial evidence by foreign scientists.
The ban has gone on for more than eight months and is expected to continue on as the National Court is suing Madang Provincial Government on fish ban and the latter is suing the MCC to claim K18 billion and K1.6 million respectively for damages.
All respective authorities including Mineral Resources Authority, Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority, National Fisheries Authority and MCC are passing the buck around by presenting their own scientific reports to allow the people to eat fish except, Madang Provincial Government.
The recent decision by Chuave MP Wera Mori to declare Madang sea water as clean and allowing the people to consume fish is scientifically unjustifiable and indirectly killing the people of Madang.
As a matter of fact, we the Madang people need to understand that this problem is man-made and our leaders were directly involved to create this problem and thus no body from outside will come to clean this mess but only to add fuel to the fire.
I thank the Madang government and Madang Governor Peter Yama to fight for the rights and welfare of the people of Madang.

Luwi James,
Indigenous People’s Advocate

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