Media taken for a ride

National, Normal


THE media was made to run around yesterday chasing after government officers for news on the anticipated granting of the mining licence to Nautilus Minerals to operate the Solwara 1 project in New Ireland.
Local and international reporters from the print media, radio and television were kept waiting at the Mining Haus from 8am until 1pm – all for nothing.
A media advice had scheduled the ceremony for 10am yesterday at the Mining Haus at Konedobu where Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare would officiate in the presence of Mining Minister John Pundari and heads of government departments and company representatives.
The venue was later changed to the Morauta Haus where the offices of the prime minister and National Executive Council are located.
The media arrived only to be told that they were not allowed in.
At about 10.30am, The National was advised that the event had been rescheduled to 11.30am at the Mining Haus.
Reporters arrived only to be told the minister was deliberating on the gran-ting of the licence with the MRA board.
They were joined by State Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare and Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris who realised what was going on and excused themselves.
At 1.45pm, a senior MRA officer told reporters that the occasion had been deferred until further notice.
The National could not reach Pundari to establish the reason for the delay.
However, sources suggested that the deferral could be related to a court injunction by Namatanai MP Byron Chan to stop MRA from granting the mining licence.
Nautilus would be the first to commercially explore the seafloor for massive sulphide systems, a potential source of high grade copper, gold, zinc and silver.