The National, Friday February 21st, 2014
MILNE Bay leaders want the Government to address the plight of the Misima people following the closure of the mine on the island 14 years ago.
Governor Titus Philemon said the plight of the Misima people had been the focus of attention and his government supported the concerns raised by the landowners of the mine in the manner in which they were used and abandoned.
“People continue to suffer following the closure of the gold mine some 14 years ago. The mining company and the national government got its riches and left a gaping hole on the island,” Philemon told Parliament yesterday.
He questioned Prime Minster Peter O’Neill whether he received a petition from the landowners last year.
He asked if the government could look into re-introducing the Misima Rehabilitation Fund of K5 million yearly under the Mine Closure Agreement into the national budget.
O’Neill assured Philemon that he would look into the issues raised.
He said Misima was the first mine to go through the process of closure and the government and public servants mishandled the situation. As a result, people were continuously bringing to its attention issues that needed to be resolved.
He confirmed meeting with landowners and receiving their petition which he passed on to officials to work on.
But he was not sure of its progress and assured Philemon that he would communicate with the relevant officials for a response.
O’Neill said that a team would be established next week to go to Misima to deal with the issues that had been raised.
“Enough of sitting here and frustrating our people. I have been there a few times and I am saddened to see the infrastructure has declined,” he said.
“The infrastructure can be rehabilitated, the power generation, roads and the airport those are key infrastructures that will serve our people.”