Ramu project landowners demand K10 million BDG

Four landowner associations of the Ramu Nickel Project in Madang Province are demanding the National Government to immediately release their outstanding business development grant of K10 million or the Ramu Nickel Project will be disrupted.

The warning was issued on Wednesday during a meeting attended by the four LOA chairmen, Tobby Bare of Kurumbukari LOA, Peter Tai of Inland Pipeline, Jeffery Gamrai of Coastal Pipeline LOA and Sama Mallembo of Basamuk

The chairmen also questioned why the National Government pays close attention to other mining projects in the country by paying their  BDG and ignores its commitment towards Ramu Nickel project landowners.

“If the National Government thinks that Ramu Project is not important to the national economy and the country’s bilateral relationship with China then sooner or later, we will disrupt the Project,”

“We have waited since 2006 when former Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare made the commitment of K20 million. Ten million Kina was released in 2011 under Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and we are now demanding the release of the balance K10 million,”  chairman of Kurumbukari LoA,  Bare spoke on behalf of the four landowner chairmen.

In a letter dated August 10 to the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, the four chairmen asked the Prime Minister to direct the release of the remaining K10 million which was intended as seed capital to support the four landowner companies namely KBK Ltd, Maigari Ltd, Wass Matau Ltd and Basamuk Enterprises.

“The landowner companies urgently need the funding to increase capacity to compete with companies outside and within the project area for contracts.”

“This is because not many commercially viable contracts were off loaded to the landowner companies during the construction and initial operational phase of the Ramu Nickel Project,” the four chairmen said.

The chairmen said Madang people are law abiding citizens and they would not want to be like other project landowners who disrupt the national importance projects unnecessarily costing the company, the national government and landowners’ unnecessary financial burden.

“We are simply asking the Prime Minister to direct the release of the long overdue K10 million because we have waited since 2006. We cannot compete with other businesses at this stage,” Bare said.

The four chairmen also indicated that the money should be paid to Mineral Resources Authority to administer the disbursement of the money to the four landowners and not any alien agents claiming to represent the landowner companies.

“As chairmen of the four landowner associations, who represent the landowners, who are the shareholders of the four landowner companies, we strongly oppose these agents as they do not represent the landowner companies in anyway,” the chairmen declared.

Picture: Kurumbukari Landowner association chairman, Tobby Bare making a point


James Kila