Lihir locals urged to start spin-off businesses

​A Ward Member in Lihir, New Ireland Province, has urged locals who are not direct beneficiaries of the Lihir Gold Mine to take advantage of spin-off benefits arising from infrastructure works carried out in the Province.

Ward Three Member of the Nimamar Local Level Government, Clement Zanayes, said this following road construction works carried out in their local constituency.

His comments follow negotiations with Lihir Mine operators, Newcrest Mining Limited, on the construction of a road running through Lipuko and Matakues villages, which fall under Nimamar LLG.

Zanayas led negotiations for road works to be diverted and avoid destroying an existing burial site at Matakues, and have it released to the community as the existing road was built over some graveyards.

In a community meeting in 2016, he challenged his constituents to prepare for the coming of the road by thinking of ways they could utilise it.

He reminded the Lipuko and Matakues communities that they were not direct beneficiaries of Lihir mine royalties and therefore should start thinking about spin-off businesses such as road-side markets for their welfare.

NML Engineering Project Development (EPD) construction supervisor, John Lee, was happy with the result and commended Zanayes and the locals for the collaborative effort.

“The decision was a great outcome for the community as the people now have their burial site back as well as a new road, but what was significant about this partnership was that the community, while being thankful, did not ask for compensation.

“This is development partnership and I congratulate Mr Zanayes and his people for their part,” Lee said.

At Lipuko, the two creeks at either ends of the primary school grounds are receiving new concrete culverts that will drain water properly out to sea and prevent the road from flooding. Lipuko waterfront also had received a facelift as part of this job.

Old dump truck tyres have been used to form a solid sea wall that is compacted with gravel (coronus) and concrete.

At Matakues hill, new drainage systems have been put in as well as the road works.

Meanwhile, road works from Putput to Palie have created an opportunity for road safety awareness.

Construction is progressing to plan with work teams performing their daily tasks by considering the movement of pedestrians, domestic animals and vehicles.

“We understand people are frustrated about the work slowing down their movement so we appeal to them to cooperate with us so we can complete the work safely and efficiently,” Lee said.

“The road team comes in contact with the community every day and we understand that not everyone is road safety conscious.

“We are doing our best every day to educate and empower the local people about being responsible when using the road and take safety seriously every day. We are also educating them about their contribution towards this important development for them,” he added.

Once completed, it will be handed over to the national government to maintain.

Cedric Patjole