Woodlark mine’s stakeholders meet to review agreement


STAKEHOLDERS in the K420 million Woodlark mining project were in Alotau last week to review the project’s memorandum of agreement last negotiated in 2015.
The stakeholders included the State, project developer Geopacific Resources Ltd, Dal Wanuwan Woodlark Lease Association Inc (landowners), Murua LLG and the Milne Bay government.
They discussed land issues, royalties, tax credit scheme, special support grants, infrastructure, business development plan, employment and training and mine closure.
Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) managing director Jerry Garry said the State team focused on reaching a win-win situation for all stakeholders, especially the landowners.
He said this was consistent with the Government’s agenda to empower resource owners and others by ensuring they got maximum benefits from their resources.
Garry said the Government led by the Commerce and Industry Department had come up with a national content plan to ensure landowners and businesses were engaged by the developer in business spin offs, beginning from the construction phase of projects.
The plan will be implemented once it is approved by the National Executive Council.
He said business opportunities would made available by the developer when the project goes into production.
This resulted in five to six years of missed business opportunities and millions of Kina for landowners.
Geopacific Resources Ltd was represented at the meeting by chief executive Tim Richards who said the company was looking forward to productive negotiations.
However, he said the real challenge for stakeholders was the implementation of the agreement.
The project has a 13-year mine-life and has three defined gold deposits with one million ounces in gold reserves, and 1.6 million ounces in gold resources.

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