The National, Tuesday, April 26, 2011
By ISAAC NICHOLAS
MT Kare landowners have signed a golden deal that will see them share almost 50-50 equity with an Australian Mining Company to start alluvial mining in the gold rich Mt Kare between Enga and Southern Highlands provinces.
The agreement signed last Thursday will see landowners getting 47% while Ace Mining of Australia holds 53% of the deal.
More than 200 Mt Kare landowners met with Ace Mining chief executive officer Gavin Nash and company director John Rollings met at the Port Moresby’s Sports Inn where the landowners signed the agreement inviting the developer to start alluvial mining operations.
The developer is now awaiting government approval through the Mineral Resource Authority for a special alluvial mining lease to start alluvial mining operations.
Landowner leaders led by Simon Kambe, Martin Yalia, Eka Mari Ekanja, former MP Anthon Pakena, Iwa Hoyabe from Paiala side of Enga province were with their counterparts Thomas Yago, Nelson Gori, Ondole Takili, Ken Angobe and Tom Peke from the Southern Highlands side of the border put their signatures to the agreement formally giving the “green-light” for alluvial mining operations.
Under the agreement, when it starts operations, Ace Mining will build road and bridges, schools, health centres and a hydro-power system to light up the local areas and supply the new Hela province.
The cost of infrastructure, training, health centres and hydro power will come out from the 7% of the landowner equity.
The deal will have the developer pay for school fees for children attending elementary, primary and high schools in the project area and pay school fees and allowance to project area children attending tertiary study around the country.
The agreement will be reviewed after five years.
The person who made it all happen is Simon Bole, from Southern Highlands, who liaised between the landowners and the mining executives.
Bole said the people had been waiting for the past 25 years for the project which never eventuated because of outstanding issues with landowners, the state and developers.
Bole said there were 6,000 landowners from the 60,000 population covering three LLGs in both provinces who will have to sign the agreement to give approval for the company to apply for an alluvial mining lease from the state.
One landowner leader, Nelson Gori, who is an IT specialist at University of Papua New Guinea, urged all elites from the area to step in to move the project forward.
“I urged all like-minded landowner leaders that the time is right for this investment,” he said.
“We cannot go on fighting each other because the real benefits of education, health and social infrastructure is for the people.
“The people have spoken and now it’s up to the national government to give us the license.
“We have already signed the agreement inviting the developer to come in,” Gori said.
Nash said many international companies “have come and taken out everything”, adding that this agreement was give and take.
The Mt Kare mining licence has already been awarded to Kingsgate for hard-rock mining. The licence will expire in 2012.