Limestone lease deal in progress

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, June 15, 2011

LANDOWNER company, Veadi Holdings Ltd (VHL) from Papa village in Central’s West Hiri district, is ready to sign a new sub-lease agreement with Leighton’s joint venture partners, Wagners (PNG) Ltd, to extract limestone from their customary land of portion 2845C, outside of the portion 152 of the LNG project site. 
In a low key ceremony last Wednesday at Dobo Mountain, 5km from Papa village, descendents of 10 clans representing VHL performed a ritual as a sign of offering to their ancestors before the contractors start extracting limestone from the mountain to land fill the LNG site.
The contractors attended the  “Boubo” ceremony, a traditional feast in which a pig was slaughtered and selected parts were offered as a sacrifice to the ancestors of the descendents.
Dobo is a sacred place where the Papa people believe the spirits of their ancestors live.
VHL managing director Nicky Maraga, in revealing this, said: “I have spoken to John Wright, the Wagner quarry manager and Brian Condon, country manager with this new project extension.
“I will make sure a new sub-lease agreement is drawn, and if select fill material is confiscated, a new rate will be negotiated,” Maraga said.
“This is a new location on the customary land and I will make sure there are maximum benefits received by landowners and clansmen whom VHL represents.
“All formalities shall be put in place by the board of management immediately,” he said.
Maraga said VHL had, so far, compensated the villagers and community groups with K200,000 from the first quarry project.
Leighton JV Partners has extracted almost 500,000 tonnes of limestone from Iokoru, the first quarry site.
VHL is venturing into other investment opportunities that will bring benefits to its people as part of growth and development for locals under the LNG project.