Minjihau: Ramu land probe needs funding

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday June 25th, 2013


THE Lands Titles Commission in Madang hopes to finalise their land investigation report for the Ramu Nickel Project impact areas but needs funding, Commissioner George Minjihau says.

Minjihau, who is spearheading the investigations in Madang, confirmed this last week during a meeting with MCC and Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) officers over a grievance with landowners of Kurumbukari (KBK).

He said there needed to be funds for police security and logistics for the last leg of their year-and-a-half work already done.

In a gathering with KBK landowners, Ivan Mullul of MCC told them to start working with the commissioners and their staff in clearing the bush treks of blocks five and seven where they had yet to see the boundaries.

The landowners were frustrated over the long delay, saying it was causing them to lose business spin-offs.

Last week they marched to the LTC office and assaulted the commissioner’s associate, taking the chain off their gate with them and marching up to the MCC office to protest.

Minjihau claimed his staff had only been paid part of their allowances for the first two months of this year and had yet to receive their dues for the past three months.

The Madang provincial government has indicated that it will come to their rescue but the office is yet to receive any real confirmation of figures and when.

It has been learnt that since January staff were paid only 50% of their allowances and from March to this month, nothing had been paid them.

The lack of government intervention is holding to ransom the many landowners from the mountains of Kurumbukari all the way to Basamuk where the refinery is on the Rai Coast area.

Work for the inland pipeline area is already complete except for Basamuk, coastal and KBK.

Minjihau indicated there were minor alterations to some land markings, which caused delays to their work.

Mines director John Bivi is calling on stakeholders, local MPs and the governor of the province to intervene so that LTC can fast track their work.