Marape wants better deal with developers

Business

PRIME Minister James Marape says the government will ensure the country is placed in a better position in terms of resource deals when it negotiates with developers this year.
With the Special Mining Lease (SML) for the Porgera gold mine in Enga set to expire on Aug 16 and the Ramu nickel mine in the Madang also negotiating with the provincial government and State, Marape said this would give them an opportunity to make decisions to benefit the economy.
“Together, as a government and country, we have a clear position, as far as the renewal of the lease, or seeking for a new operator of the mine or whatever arrangement that we have, into post Aug 16,” he said.
Marape was responding to questions from Enga Governor Chief Sir Peter Ipatas in relation to the Porgera mining lease.
Sir Peter wanted the State negotiating team to involve the landowners and the provincial government so their concerns for a better deal and benefits was considered.
He said it was time the government maximised its partnerships with developers.
Sir Peter said the government and State departments had routinely failed the people when it came to garnering a fair return for the people in resource deals.
“Thankfully, the landowners and provincial government fought in court and held back the renewal of the Special Mining Lease, otherwise the current operator could have submitted renewal application and renewed the SML and got the licence already because our political leadership and public servants haven’t woken up,” he said.
“I want to ask the prime minister if he can instruct the government agencies to sit with the landowners and the provincial government representatives to meet and look at the best way forward to see how best we can improve the revenue of the country through the mine.”
Marape said his government was mindful of landowners’ concerns and those of the provincial government in relations to acquiring greater benefits.
“We are looking at policy interventions that can harness what we have in our country, adding value to them and Porgera presents a great opportunity to look into it,” he said.
“Every opportunity will be given to the present operator.”
“We appreciate that they have been operating this mine for a very long time.
“We will sit down and ask them, ‘what is the best that you can give us? You have been operating the mine and what can you give us?
“What we can take as a country and if you can give us more, we would appreciate it.”

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