Landowners yet to open bank accounts, official says


SOME landowners in the Ramu Nickel project impact areas are yet to open their bank accounts for the distribution of royalties, an official says.
Madang government mines director John Bivi said all other arrangements had been completed.
Bivi said the landowners at Basamuk, where the Ramu Nickel refinery is, needed to sort out some issues before they could receive their royalties.
He said their royalties would be kept in a trust account.
Meanwhile, Raicoast MP Peter Sapia has asked Ramu Nickel to assist in building Erima Saidor roads. He visited the Ramu Nickel headquarter last week.
The president of the Ramu NiCo Management, Gao Yongxue, said he was concerned about the road but former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare had promised that the government would facilitate the infrastructure development.
Gao told Sapia that Ramu Nickel was providing spinoff businesses to the people of Raicoast and hoped to create a better working relationship with the Raicoast administration.
“Importantly, we are contributing to providing employment for the locals. Two-thirds of the workers are locals,” Gao said.
He said the company enjoyed a good working relationship with the landowners through a monthly meetings with clan leaders, and the  running of awareness programmes in the community.
Gao said the company over the years had also assisted Raicoast in health and education.