THE current Government, along with its responsible agencies, are still not learning from the damaging experiences of mining activities in the country.
Experiences of Panguna, Ok Tedi, Tolukuma and others are all there for responsible authorities to learn and do things properly.
Environmental pollution and damages caused by these mines exceeds the monetary and other benefits put together.
The evidence is overwhelming but the Government is still somewhat ignorant.
It places short-term revenue ahead of long-term gain and sustainability and dependence of our small people on natural resources such as river systems, forests, seas, etc. The recent MoU signed by the O’Neill Government with developers of the multi-billion kina Wafi-Golpu mining project in Morobe province is a another clear indication that it does not care about indigenous people’s welfare and long-term survival.
Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu and Huon Gulf MP Ross Seymour, with concerned landowners, must be commended for voicing their concerns against the MoU.
The MoU is rushed and is sinister. There is no clear indication of where the mine tailings will be properly stored and disposed.
At present, it is apparent that tailings will be dumped into the sea on the Morobe coast.
The environmental damages that the tailings disposal pose are unimaginable.
Although Bulolo MP Sam Basil and former Morobe governor Kelly Naru have said that the MoU is only a guide to pave the way forward, the concerns of the Morobe people and leaders who will be directly affected must be respected and considered.
It is very surprising to see the minister responsible for mining and Kainantu MP, Johnson Tuke, silent on this very-important issue.
A closer look at electoral boundaries shows that 80 per cent of the Wafi-Golpu project is in the Huon Gulf electorate and not in Bulolo.
Basil’s heavy involvement and not Seymour as Huon Gulf MP with Governor Saonu is a concern as well.
The natural resources and assets of this country must not be taken for a ride by a few privileged individuals.
MPs are voted into Parliament to make decisions in the best interest of the people as their first priority and not for themselves and the developers, who after all are short-terms profit-oriented visitors who only care to bring the best returns to their shareholders only.