MRA impressed with Woodlark Project

The Mineral Resources Authority has expressed satisfaction with the standard of housing and facilities being built by GeoPacific Resources, developer of the Woodlark Mining Project for its landowners involved in the relocation/resettlement exercise.

MRA Acting Managing Director, Jerry Garry, who returned from the project site on Saturday January 14, after a two-day inspection of the houses and facilities, said he was impressed with the quality of the houses that were being constructed by the developer of the project GeoPacific Resources Limited.

He adds that they had set a new benchmark for the rest of the mining industry to follow.

“This is the standard of housing we want the rest of the industry to build for our landowners when relocating them (landowners). GeoPacific is setting a benchmark even before they could mine an ounce of gold. This is something that we have never seen before in the extractive sector of this country,” said Garry.

He said about two and a half years ago, the MRA was made aware of the situation where the company had built sub-standard houses for landowners affected by the resettlement/relocation exercise that was being carried out by the company.

Garry said the MRA as the regulator of the mining industry in the country, had to intervene immediately and ask GeoPacific to stop the construction work, remove the houses and build better and more decent houses for the landowners.

He stated that the company responded positively to MRA resulting in the better houses built today.

GeoPacific Resources’ Community Affairs Officer, Bosco Lapis said the company would build a total of 223 houses of which, they had completed over 100, where impacted landowners have moved in.

He said they were yet to complete 83 houses of which 23 were 90 percent complete.

Lapis said the time frame for the completion of the remaining houses would depend on logistical and financial situation going forward. However, he said, the project is a priority for the company and that the company would ensure the all houses were delivered.

The residential houses generally feature 3-5 bedrooms, high-posts, steel frames and other permanent properties designed to last long.

Other facilities that are being constructed such as classrooms, hospitals, stand-alone toilets and trade stores also feature similar properties.

The relocation exercise is part of the company’s mining plan where it has to relocate villagers from Kulumadau to Baowen, Seloka and Dikoyas, in order to mine resources that at Kulumadau.

Impacted landowner groups including the Landowner Association, women, youths and church representatives also expressed satisfaction although they raised issues with certain features of the houses such windows which Lapis said they were already working on these issues.

Press Release