MRA: Form a group to get royalties

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 4th January 2012

THE Mineral Resources Authority has urged landowners of East New Britain’s Sinivit mine to organise themselves into one body to receive their royalty payments.
Officer-in-charge of the authority, Phillip Samar, assured them last Friday during a meeting with the developers New Guinea Gold Ltd, the provincial government and police at Gazelle International Hotel that their royalties were safely parked with MRA after it was released by New Guinea Gold Ltd recently.
“You (landowners) have to decide when you want your royalties and come together with one voice, then the process of payment can commence,” he said.
Court instructions are in place for landowners to organise themselves, with a 60-day period given to get the factions organised.
The deadline is Jan 10.
“MRA is under instructions to liaise with the provincial government to facilitate this this week,” he said.
Samar said it was only this situation that warranted the MRA holding back the royalties temporarily.
He told landowners if they were still divided, it was a waste of time talking as that resulted in more problems.
Provincial director for corporate services, Ephreddie Jubilee, said the provincial government would facilitate by organising their people in accordance with the court order to make sure issues were addressed fully and the order was not being breached.
Lawyer assisting the landowners, Donald Wesley made a practical consideration that according to the chairman of the Lulai Nakama Integrated land group, Douglas Augustine, the landowners’ leadership issue was far-reaching and may not be achieved in the 60-day period.
The court may have to extend the deadline.
He said that could affect negotiations willingly taken on by New Guinea Gold Ltd and landowners regarding landowner grievances.
Wesley said these were two important issues and all parties must not let one issue prevent the other from eventuating.
As one of the demands to New Guinea Gold Ltd, landowners want justification of K1.4 million in royalty payments parked with MRA.
Augustine said they were told in the first quarterly review that they would be receiving about K3 million.
He acknowledged the release of royalties by New Guinea Gold Ltd to MRA but sought clarification why only
K1.4 million was being given.