State owes communities K480mil


THE State has around K480 million in outstanding commitments to the mining-impacted communities in the country, says Mineral Resources Authority managing director Jerry Garry.
He told The National that this was for all the mining operations in the past five to 10 years.
“We don’t have the money to fund it and this is a big liability on the part of the State,” he said.
Garry said the social license aspect of the mining business must be carried by the mining operators.
“It is in their own interest that they maintain a cordial relation with the people who give them the social licence. They are the landowners.”
He said the companies must be building schools, hospitals, roads and community relations projects.
“Why we are saying these is that the State has not been getting any corporate income tax from any of the mines at all,” he said.
“So why are we wasting money on business that is not sustaining the income of the Government?
“For example, Lihir has not been paying any income tax in the past five years or so.
“The State has several obligations under the public investment programme fund and we are still struggling.
“Governor Sir Julius Chan is saying I’m still waiting for my infrastructure development fund and all we can tell him is that there is no money.
“Because of these, all projects must now bear the burden of social licence because it is in their own interest to keep the communities and the landowners happy and keep the mine operating.”