O’Neill said the Government will ensure the Tutumang, legitimate landowners and other key stakeholders participate in the project agreement discussion of the Wafi-Golpu Project.
He said this when questioned by Markham MP, Koni Iguan, on the Morobe Provincial Government’s refusal to sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the State and developer Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture (WGJV).
The Markham MP asked the Prime Minister to explain the recent events surrounding the Wafi-Golpu Project and the refusal of the Tutumang to sign.
“What are the understanding and obligation of the MOU?
“Have the respective Provincial Government and landowners been consulted or will they be consulted in every level of negotiation?
“Can you clarify why the Morobe Provincial Government has filed a court application on the MOU on Wafi Gold Mine?” said Iguan.
Prime Minister O’Neill said the MOU is an understanding between the parties on their expectations of the project.
O’Neill said despite the current court action by the Tutumang against the State, they will not be excluded but will be involved in the project agreement negotiations, which are yet to take place.
“We have tried to engage with the Provincial Government but there has been some misunderstanding. Morobe Provincial Government to its own wish they have established a consultancy team to advise them on the issues going forward and we respect that, that is the right of the Morobe Provincial Government but we are not excluding the Provincial Government on all these negotiations,” said the Prime Minister.
O’Neill further said they will ensure the Tutumang, landowners, and other stakeholders have properly negotiated stakes before the project agreement is concluded by June 30th this year.
“So we have got another five months to continue to discuss some of the issue that we want to, particularly on the benefits too. Provincial governments, the State, the landowners and other stakeholders, let me remind our good leaders that we are also on the same side, that we want to bring maximum benefit to our people and to our country.”
(Markham MP Koni Iguan in Parliament yesterday)