Locals stop mine plans

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday July 31st, 2013


PLANS to open the first limestone mine in the country have been stalled after landowners ordered the exploration company off the land.

Landowners of Goiri, in Chuave, Chimbu, in a warden hearing two weeks ago at Chuave Station told Kair Engineering Company to vacate their land after the company told the landowners that it wanted a 50% share in the mine when it begins operation.

The company holds the exploration license (EL1765) for the area and has been involved in exploration work since the beginning of last year.

“We told the company that what they suggested was too much and they have to vacate our land,” principal landowner Francis Bomai, from the Supagam clan, said.

“We thought the explorer would get somewhere between 10% and 20% of the mine revenue but they wanted something bigger,” Bomai said.

Bomai said the other 50% of the revenue generated from the proposed mine would be shared among the landowners, developer, the state and provincial administration.

About 7,000 people from nine clans who comprised two major tribes (Duma and Mam) would be directly affected by the proposed mine.

“Issues of relocation, food security and environmental pollution must be taken into consideration when thinking about what shares of the revenue should be given to landowners,” Bomai said.

Mineral Resources Authority regulatory operations division manager Roger Gunson last Friday said people having issues with mining tenements must submit an objection notice to MRA within the timeframe set out in the public advertisements.

He said issues regarding mining licenses and other exploration matters should not be discussed in the media but dealt with under the provisions of the Mining Act 1992.