Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Chan refutes Simberi Landowner claim
MINING Minister Byron Chan has refuted landowner claims over the removal of Australian mining firm Allied Gold in Simberi, New Ireland province.
This follows recent comments made in the media by the Simberi Mines landowner spokesman regarding proposed changes by the mining ministry to replace Allied Gold which the minister said is a lie.
“The proposed change to replace Allied Gold Plc in Simberi that was reported in the Post Courier by Henry Salin, the SML 136 Landowners’ spokesman is baseless argument and lacks truth at this stage.
“Yes there is talk about interest over certain actions with ongoing discussions by the Tabar Landowners and their proposed partner and developer that I am aware is happening. And these are discussions seen fit by the mandated and legitimate representatives of the landowners such as the Simberi Mining Area Association (SMAA) and the Tatau and Big Tabar Landowner Associations,” Chan said.
He explained, “the State, I must clearly express here that it has no part in it and it is not obliged to be part of those private talks or negotiations they have carried out. Salin should know this as normal process and not to take the matter further than that and raise unwarranted statement that serves partisan and other interests”.
Chan said any developer or investor wishing to look into existing business or new business opportunity is a normal practice and is an internal affair for those concerned.
“As Minister for Mining I have responsibility to protect the interest of the state and the people in any matter that fall under and within my ministerial responsibility.
“Therefore, in terms of breaches and non-compliance, if any is proven, say within Simberi Gold operation or another mine in PNG, it is my lawful duty and within powers enabling me under relevant state laws to step in and take necessary actions. This may include referral action as the case may require. In the mean time there is none and no need for alarm.
“I want to remind Salin and his faction 136 Leaders that there had been several concerns raised about the Simberi Gold operation and it has taken a long time to resolve due to differences and non-cooperation by ML 136 and the developer not coming to the round table talks. This had happened in the past meetings, so how do we solve our problems if other parties do not come to talks aimed at finding an amicable and lasting solution.
“As part of my responsibility I have instituted another inter-state agency team to investigate the Simberi operation and I await the findings for this.
“I caution Salin and his band of ML 136 leaders to be careful in making their statements’ to suggest that the Simberi issue may result in a crisis likened to Bougainville.
“This is utter nonsense and unfounded. If the SML 136 Leaders think and suggest this, they are treading on a fine and dangerous line and it is better for them to confine themselves to the issue at hand and deal with their landowner concerns via dialogue, consensus and peaceful process we all aspire to guard,” Chan said.