STUDIES into the development of the offshore mineral policy will be completed before it is tabled in Parliament, acting Prime Minister and Minister for Mining, Lands and Physical Planning, Sir Puka Temu said.
“Political leaders must be better informed and comfortable before endorsing the policy,” he said at the opening of the two-day Solwara 1 project consultative forum in the Vunapope conference centre in Kokopo yesterday.
He said the development of the policy was progressing well under his department’s strategic plan and vision.
“The Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazard Management is finalising the research conducted over the past few months and will compile an information paper that will set the basis for consultation with stakeholders in the mining industry.”
Sir Puka said much work was done on the 1999 Green Paper on the policy but there were issues that required further research and clarification prior to the consultations with stakeholders.
He outlined important issues such as the State’s right of jurisdiction on all waters found in PNG, demarcation of provincial boundaries in relation to waters that may lie within a province’s boundaries under the Organic Law on provincial boundaries.
“PNG is taking the first steps in the development of the policy and legislation in unchartered waters. The rest of the world will learn from us, therefore, it is vital that our studies are thoroughly completed.”
The forum will disseminate information to update stakeholders and interested parties on the status of the project following a formal application by Nautilus for a developing license for Solwara 1.
This follows the grant of the environment permit approvals in 2009.
“The Government is mindful of Nautilus’ application. We will ensure that any consideration for the grant of licence will set a good precedent for the establishment of the policy,” Sir Puka said.
East New Britain and New Ireland are part of the Solwara 1 project.