By HELEN TARAWA
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has warned that mining licences for major projects will be renewed only when a fair distribution of benefits to landowners is guaranteed.
The rule applies to multi-million kina projects such as the Ramu Nickel mine in Madang, the Ok Tedi mine in Western, Porgera in Enga, and the Bougainville copper mine.
“This is our gold and copper, our natural resources,” he said.
“Why do we allow people to come in and exploit our resources? We cannot be spectators.
“We must have a say and (enjoy) the benefits. We have to look after our people and serve them.”
O’Neill, pictured, was in Madang last Friday where the Ramu Nickel mining project is located.
He said the Chinese government was planning to expand the Ramu Nickel project and would have to talk to the Government, the provincial executive council (headed by) Governor Peter Yama.
“We must renegotiate so that the benefit must come to the people. In August we will talk about Porgera mine when the mining licence has ended. We will re-negotiate so our people benefit the most.”
O’Neill also thanked Yama for taking ownership of the multi-million kina Pacific Marine Industrial Zone.
“We have signed a loan agreement and we have transferred the management of this programme to the province,” he said. “We are tired of these projects being managed by Waigani where there is so much misuse and abuse.”
O’Neill also gave K5 million to Usino-Bundi MP Jimmy Uguro to build a district hospital at Walium, and to buy a vehicle for the Bundi police station.
By HELEN TARAWA