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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chan assures Aussie counterpart

Ferguson and Chan

MINING minister Byron Chan has reassured his Australian counterpart Martin Ferguson that Australia’s investment in the mining sector in Papua New Guinea will not be deterred by the proposed amendments to the mining act.

Minister Chan who was accompanied by MRA acting managing director Kepas Wali and First Secretary Gaius Toaligur met with Mr Ferguson, Australia’s Minister for Resources and Energy in Melbourne on Friday after returning from a mining conference in   Accra, Ghana where he briefed him of the current mining review and other policy issues the government will undertake.

“I assured the Federal Minister on Australia’s huge investment in PNG’s mining sector that there is no immediate changes to the act to give ownership back to landowners. Currently, the State owns the resources,” Chan said.

He told Mr Ferguson that the decision to make the amendment to the 1992 mining act is only political but made an undertaking to immediately set up a special committee to look into the changes.

“I cannot change the policy overnight with PNG already having multi-billion kina companies operating in the extractive industry. Anything to change will be drastic and a big blow to the economy.

“However, my immediate agenda now is to look into the mining act and amend certain provisions of the act with consultation from all stakeholders so that landowners, government and investors are equally benefited,” minister Chan said.

The minister also noted that he will be pushing for a policy to be in place within the proposed mining act for an establishment of environment protection and rehabilitation fund.

The fund he said will assist mining areas and increase more benefit for landowners and provincial governments where mining operations are currently in progress.

Meanwhile, Mr Ferguson thanked his counterpart and said the meeting is a forward for the two countries and paves way for the upcoming Australia – PNG bilateral ministerial forum in Canberra this week.

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