MOUs not binding: Garry

The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) Managing Director, Jerry Garry, says signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) should not be legally binding.

He said there are many instances of MOUs being signed all over the globe as nothing more than as a statement of intention.

He shared the sentiments following the signing of the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture MOU signing.

After the signing of the WGJV MOU between the project developers and the state there have been numerous statements against the signing.

Garry said an MOU is simply an action plan signed by proponents of a project and should not be legally binding.

“For major projects as such, it's not very unusual.”

Former Acting MRA MD Nathan Mosusu said they had only viewed the MOU briefly before it was signed.

He said since it is an MOU there should not be any provisions tying down the state.

“We know that they should not be legally binding and not providing too much detail that ties the state down to commitments. And we are hoping that that was the case for the Wafi-Golpu MOU,” said Mosusu.

The MOA for the WGJV project is expected to be completed mid-this year before a Final Investment Decision (FID) is made on the project.

Meanwhile, the WGJV has suspended operations following protests by individuals claiming to be legitimate landowners.

The WGJV stated that the individuals are not landowners, but in the interest of safety, have evacuated non-essential personnel.

Hengambu Landowner Association Chairman, Paul Yanam, has expressed disappointment over the protest which has forced the suspension of the activities at the Wafi-Golpu Project area.

Yanam said the protest does not in any way represent their interest as well as other legitimate landowner associations.

Cedric Patjole