Protect your right, says Bulolo MP

Lae News, Normal

ONE has the right to sign statutory declaration forms and commit Bulolo district and its people to any form of payments as compensations from mining developers, says Bulolo MP Sam Basil.
Basil’s blunt statement NBC Morobe (FM 105) on Tuesday was made following reports of compensation for environmental damage to locals by Morobe Mining Joint Venture.
While calling on Hidden Valley mines developer – MMJV – to explain, he warned the provincial mines office saying his people had been suffering especially in their social and economic developments because of the negative effects of mining developments.
He revealed that two different statutory declaration forms – FM1018 and FM1017 – were given to the affected locals along the Watut River by company and provincial government officials to sign without his knowledge.
“Our lawyers from both the company and the district must jointly give the OK, and I have sought legal advice because I want to know the legal implications,” Basil said, who has also contacted environmental lawyer Tiffany Nonggorr to assist in this case.
Nonggorr is currently fighting in court against deep sea tailings disposal (DSTP) system in the Basamuk Sea by Ramu Nickel mine developer in Madang.
He also announced on radio that, the Bulolo joint district planning and budget priority committee (JDP&BPC) has recently approved funding to engage toxicologists from the mining region of Mt Isa in Queensland, Australia, to collect data and do sampling of the rivers and soil in the areas occupied by the affected communities.
This assessment team will reveal their results early next year, which Basil vowed to use to sue whoever was responsible if there was enough evidence to show.
However, he said the sampling exercise by Australian toxicologists was an expensive exercise and would only cover the upper Watut river communities located inside Bulolo’s electoral boundary, and appealed to the lower Watut river communities including the people of Labu on the Salamaua coastline to pressure Huon Gulf MP Sasa Zibe to counter-fund the same exercise in his electorate. 
The current compensation to the locals follows an environmental damage assessment early this year by MMJV.