By PISAI GUMAR
LANDOWNERS from Zenag in the Mumeng area of the Morobe province are totally against any mining exploration in their area.
They are against mine exploration work being undertaken in the exploration license (EL) 1612 on Mt Gengfu in their area.
At a meeting between the villagers and Morobe Mining Joint Venture exploration team led by senior geologist Robert Somayang, landowner spokesman Yana Joseph told Morobe Mining Joint Venture to quit further exploration activities.
Mr Joseph said that they were not informed and were unsure about the exploration agreement between the Mumeng local level government, Morobe provincial government and the MMJV in 2007.
“They were surprised to see exploration work begin without their knowledge,” Mr Joseph said.
Mr Joseph said Mt Gengfu is the source of drinking water that supplies Biamemna, Dambie, Engabu, Gawafu, Kumalu, Parakris, Pamelambu and Yanta areas and exploration work will seriously damage that water supply.
Meanwhile, Bulolo district administrator Nimsen Kibisep said that as far as he can remember, there was no agreement signed as mentioned by Mr Joseph.
But there was a mining warden hearing in late 2008 at which most of the people had accepted the exploration work to be carried out to determine the status of the mineral deposit.
Any final agreement on whether actual mining goes ahead depends on negotiations between the landowners, the developer and the national and provincial governments, he said.
Attempts to contact MMJV exploration general manager Bill Kavanamur and community affairs exploration coordinator Fred Tieng for comment were unsuccessful.