Logger refutes claims

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CLOUDY Bay Sustainable Forestry (CBSF) has dismissed claims by a landowner group that it is illegally logging their land at Abau in Central.
CBSF was responding to landowner claims made last month in The National,  that its operation in the Cloudy Bay Forestry Management area (FMA) was illegal and needed a new agreement.
CBSF managing director Mike Janssen said the company had two separate and valid project agreements in which the first was an FMA project development agreement it signed with PNG Forestry Authority (PNGFA) and the second was a 100% downstream processing FMA timber project agreement entered into between the state, the provincial government and the company.
Janssen said both these agreements were still valid and legally-binding maintaining that the company fully complied with the conditions contained within those permits.
He said the company did not have any agreements with any landowners within the FMA relating to the right to selectively harvest trees and that the landowners had an agreement with the PNGFA and not with the company.
Janssen clarified that any related proposals or negotiations by the landowner group should be taken up with PNGFA and not with the company.
However, the landowners through their attorney, Communal Land Development Ltd chairman David Rakilea, questioned the company as to why it avoided having a round table discussion with them to clear misunderstandings, if there was any, on the matter.
Rakilea said letters to the company and PNGFA for discussions had fallen on deaf ears, adding: “All we ask for is dialogue between the landowners, the company and the PNGFA.”