BY JEFFREY ELAPA
THE Ramu nickel mine in Madang still has a valid mining licence to operate, the Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) says.
Managing director Jerry Garry said the mining licence issued to Ramu NiCo was still valid and had not expired as reported.
Garry said the only issue now that needed to be addressed, was the renegotiation of the memorandum of agreement (MoA) between the stakeholders, for the benefit sharing.
He said there had been several litigious actions in relation to the Ramu nickel mine, but that was put to rest when it was resolved that all parties (the landowner groups) needed to go back and elect their officials and their representatives.
He said by law, only those elected could participate in the MoA, or the review, and renegotiations of the benefits including royalties and equities.
Garry said once the elections were completed, and the representative elected, then the MoA review could take place.
The parties that are expected to participate are the Kurumbukari landowners, the inland pipeline landowners, the facility landowners at Basamuk, the local government authorities, the Madang government and the national government.
The US$2.1 billion (K4.08b) Ramu nickel project near Madang, on the north coast of PNG, was one of the largest, and most ambitious mining and processing projects to have been successfully brought into production in PNG during the past decade.
Construction was completed by 2012, and the plant had since, been progressively brought into production.
The Kurumbukari nickel and cobalt laterite mine is connected by a 135km pipeline from the Kurumbukari plateau, to the Basamuk processing plant which is 75km east of the provincial capital of Madang, along the Rai Coast of the Vitiaz Basin.
The Ramu mine and Basamuk processing plant is a joint venture between Highlands (8.56 per cent), the PNG government and Landowners (6.44 per cent) and Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) Ramu NiCo Ltd (85 per cent). MCC holds a 61 per cent interest in MCC Ramu NiCo Ltd, with the remaining 39 per cent held by a number of Chinese entities.
BY JEFFREY ELAPA