Mapping begins at portion 152

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A STATE-sanctioned social mapping and land identification process has started for landowners to fix up their incorporated land groups (ILG) to benefit from the multi-billion kina LNG project.
Nationally-owned Heritage Consultants Ltd, had been contracted to conduct social mapping and landowner identification covering the entire foot-print of the LNG project from Central, Gulf, Western and Southern Highlands provinces.  
The LNG ILG project launching was done at Papa village on Sunday and was attended by officials from the departments of Petroleum and Energy and Lands and Phusical Planning, village leaders and people.
Heritage principal Iyama Dick Steven said the programme was supposed to begin in Southern Highlands but because of the the recent landowner issues, the team decided to start in Central at Portion 152 and work its way up to Southern Highlands.
Steven said the contract was awarded to the company on December 2009 and funds had been made available now to start the process.
He said under the Oil and Gas Act, it was a requirement for social mapping to be done before any major project and ExxonMobil did a social mapping report before the project agreement was finalised.
Steven said although some groups had formed their own ILGs, the exercise now was to identify the real landowners into ILGs for the government to recognise them as legitimate landowners.
“We have to legitimise them and give mandate to the group that will benefit from equity, royalty and other benefits from the LNG project.”
“Incorporated Land Groups (ILGs) is the final touch to the whole social mapping process and we would like to see everybody involved in the programme.”
DPE assistant director policy David Manau told more than 100 villagers that ILGs were to ensure there was equitable benefit distribution to the whole community and not individuals.
Director  and registrar of ILGs with the Lands Department Iruna Rogakila said he was privileged to be there to launch the ILG programme, adding that ILGs should be in clan-vetted basis and clans should be the owners and not made up of little splinter groups.