Protest puts PNG LNG project in limbo

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, June 22, 2011

THE work on Tumbi Quarry, one of the early works project at Hides PNG LNG project, has stopped a result of action taken by relatives of the two deceased women who were run over by a vehicle in February.
ExxonMobil on the Hides projects confirmed that the quarry was stopped as of last weekend.
ExxonMobil public and corporate affairs adviser Rebecca Arnold in an email stated: “The latest information I have is that work at one of the project quarry sites in the Hides area has stopped in response to actions taken by members of the public because of a non-project-related dispute.
“We cannot confirm when work will recommence at the quarry.
“We can confirm that a number of project vehicles were taken by locals in a dispute unrelated to the project. These vehicles have now been recovered,” Arnold said.
The National later confirmed with Wita Arua Holding Chairman Hare Hengi and Juha landowners Association chairman Hengebe Aluya  both from the Tuguba tribe from Hides that all activities at Hides 1 had come to a standstill.
They said from Hides that three bridges had been dismantled and the Tagali Bridges had been blocked.
 They said aggrieved landowners from Hides and Komo refused to clear the blockages yesterday when Hides Special Purposes Authority Chairman Lemson Mapiria and Hides Gas Development Corporation Libe Parindali and Police Commissioner Anthony Wagambie flew into Hides to negotiate with the landowners to remove the blockages.
“Now they want the government led by their Governor Anderson Agiru, Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal, Treasurer Peter O’Neill and Arthur Somare to come to Hides and deliver all the outstanding commitments before they would allow access into the projects sites,” Hengi said.
Hengebe said the relatives of the two deceased women demanded K4.5 million from the government and ExxonMobil.
Hengi said Wagambie assured them that he would talk to the government and meet with them at 10am today.