The National, Monday February 10th, 2014
OPPOSITION leader Belden Namah wants to repeal the Mining Act for the benefit of landowners in project areas.
He recently told reporters in Bulolo, Morobe, that it was wrong for the Government to be the regulator and shareholder at the same time not only in mining and petroleum projects but in forestry, fishery and agriculture.
He wants the law amended to stop that.
Namah said the law was adopted from Australia where the State owned the land. He said this was not suitable for Papua New Guinea where the land was owned by the people.
He said a good example was the state of Bulolo and other mining districts which had not seen any changes in the many years of mining activities.
“When the Government takes up shares in the projects, it can’t be a fair regulator,” he said.
“The Government is playing the role of the investment partner and regulator and I believe the entire Mining Act should be repealed.
“I will push for the change in law so that the State should not be a shareholder in any major project. The State must only be the regulator and make laws and collect taxes. Only the landowner must partner the developer.
“Our resource is our collateral and the resource owner must be the direct participant in the project. How can the State say it will hold shares on behalf of the resource owners?”