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Friday, March 11, 2011

Chan calls on government to stop the signing of MOPU environment permit


MEMBER for Namatanai Byron Chan has described the government as greedy, shameful, ignorant, and shows no mercy as it tries to sign yet another environment permit to allow Newcrest to begin Million Ounces Production Output (MOPU) on its site at Lihir Island.

Currently the developer, Newcrest is producing approximately 800,000 ounces of gold per year and would like to increase that to more than 400,000 ounces (K200m –K400m) this year which the government is expected to sign today at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Port Moresby. 

Mr Chan said this would be a slap in the face and a shameful act by the government as it has not handled the Simberi and Nautilus issues that are pending government intervention over environment pollution and landowner woes.

“I’d like to say that isn’t that enough. What’s happening with Nautilus and Simberi? I do not see any logic in this. The government’s agenda is to bulldoze the people of New Ireland and entertain the company and its own agenda. The people are real losers,” said frustrated Mr Chan.

He further added that the government is the biggest beneficiary of resources derived from Namatanai taking into account the lucrative mines like Lihir, Simberi and now Nautilus which contributed immensely to the national coffers but to date there’s nothing to show for in terms of development.

 “Not only it has that but from the agriculture produce as well such as copra, coffee and cocoa. Yet my people suffer the most when it comes to tangible development and other spin of benefits.”

Mr Chan stressed that the environment study on Lihir cannot be proved in principle.  

Surely, the government must defend and protect the people’s rights and benefits. In fact this is not done. Where is the interest? There is no significant impact project from the state that has not been forced otherwise. The government is irresponsible to go ahead with the signing because it has not consulted the people and their local level governments, he said.

“The government must consider the plight of the people. I’m calling on the government to stop the issuance of any licenses of MOPU but put in place a benefit package in terms of infrastructure, roads and bridges, district development plans, provincial government and Lihir destiny plan. 

“This must be achieved before the signing goes ahead. Basically there have been no constructive discussions on benefits with the provincial government, the local level governments and the landowners. To proceed would be regarded as another slap in the face and a shameful act by the government,” Mr Chan concluded. 

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