By GYNNIE KERO
MINING Minister Johnson Tuke is concerned with the number of new landowner groups mushrooming in mine-impact areas, creating “unnecessary fear, anxiety and distrust” among genuine landowners.
“I condemn the misinformation they are feeding the people through the media in their quest to create disharmony and distrust in the mining industry and the Government,” he said.
He was referring to demands made by interest groups in the Basamuk refinery area of Madang.
Tuke met with the new executives of the Basamuk Landowners’ Association this week to clarify matters arising from the Basamuk situation.
“I will only deal with Basamuk Landowners Association, the legally-recognised entity of the people,” he said.
“I call upon our resource owners, especially leaders of landowner associations, to put aside their differences and work together for the common good of the people.
“If we work as a united team, I assure you that you will see change. I say this because in some cases, we are our own causes of stagnancy or even regression.”
The Government and China have agreed to expand the Ramu NiCo Management-operated mine with an investment of more than US$1.5 billion (K5 billion). It is expected to create more jobs, increase production and reduce operation costs.
Landowners of the Ramu NiCo project received their royalties of more than K25 million from the Government recently.
The Government urged the landowners to invest their money in businesses who will make good economic returns on their investment.
“Basamuk landowners are no exception. Therefore, I commend the new executives of their association headed by Sande Suang for giving their commitment to work with the Government,” Tuke said.
By GYNNIE KERO