Lihir landowners warn project investors

Islands, Normal

LANDOWNERS of areas where Lihir Gold Limited (LGL) plans to upgrade its gold processing plant are warning potential investors in the project to withdraw their funding as they will not let the project to go ahead.
LGL is planning to upgrade its gold processing plant to produce its one million ounce of gold but the landowners said they would shut down the project, claiming that it was not within the special mining lease area but on customary land.
Principal landowners of the intended Mopu dam area and the pipeline area outside the special mining lease had joined hands with the Nikap Block Owners Association to stop work on the new dam to supply
water to the Mopu project.
Chairman of the pipeline areas, Roland Amoi, said they planned to take the action because LGL had failed on its commitment to carry out work on ring roads, power supply and housing for landowners, among others.
He said they would not allow LGL to start work on the project without due diligence and they
would not allow the project to go ahead unless these issues were addressed.
Chairman of the dam area, Philemon Tozik, was disappointed that LGL could only offer
his community a mere K45,000 while it was spending hundreds of millions of kina on the project itself, claiming this was typical of LGL tactics of belittling immediate landowner compensation packages.
He questioned what was going to happen to the total destruction to the environment around the proposed dam area which was used by the people as gardening land and their livelihood depended on it.
Mr Tozik warned LGL that unless proper compensation could be amicably discussed and agreed to, there would be no dam, no pipeline and no Mopu project.
He said he was concerned that if the rights and expectations of affected people in the proposed dam and pipeline area were not properly considered there was no guarantee that this would happen.