Pundari defends Solwara1 offshore project

Business, Main Stories

The National, Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MINING Minister John Pundari has called on Australian Federal Green leader Bob Brown to respect the decision of the government in permitting the Solwara 1 offshore mining project and to refrain from making public comments on a subject matter that is sensitive.
Pundari said yesterday in a media statement the issue was being discussed by the various stakeholders including the national and provincial governments and the respective communities.
“I detest the fact that an Australian politician sees fit to immerse himself in matters that are far from his own jurisdiction with the intent of undermining the decision of legitimate government,” Pundari said.
“We would appreciate that this matter is raised in discussion at a government to government level and not for someone like Brown to be playing politics with a time when he is launching his sister political party in PNG leading up to the 2012 national elections,” he added.
The minister stressed that the granting of the Solwara 1 project was legally executed under the existing Mining Act 1992.
A review of the current legislation and policy was being earmarked and will be completed before the end of the year including specific consideration for the offshore seabed mining environment.
“As a sovereign state, the government has permitted the offshore deep-sea exploration for the past 10 years leading up to the granting of a mining permit early this year.
“These are activities permitted by PNG’s mining, environment, business and other relevant laws,” Pundari said.
He said he was interested in discussing the prospect for any specialist assistance the Australian government could give to PNG’s respective agencies to assist the government in regulating the new frontier of offshore mining.