Morobe mined since 1920s, still underdeveloped: Governor

Foreigners have been mining Morobe since the 1920s, taking billions of dollars’ worth of minerals and other resources. Yet, my people and I have remained underdeveloped to this day.

This was Governor Ginson Saonu’s statement during the Wafi-Golpu forum in Lae.

“We should have major highways, but we don’t, we should have railways, but we don’t. We should have broad based agriculture, but we don’t,” stated the Governor.

“There are no significant roads, highways, bridges. And our health and education facilities are below sub-standard in many instances.

“Panguna Mine in Bougainville was a disaster, Misima was a disaster, Woodlark is looking a disaster, the terms of the first LNG were not favourable for PNG, Papua LNG was not much better.”

Saonu pointed out all the environmental and development issues linked to ongoing projects within the country.

“I am not trying to lay blame on anyone, but it seems those of us who we regard ourselves as leaders have clearly mismanaged these projects. We must be doing something wrong which is why after all these years, we remain poor and destitute, relying on huge overseas loans supported by sovereign guarantees to survive.

“The ordinary people we claim to represent rely upon us to make decisions for their benefit and for their future. But we must ask ourselves whether we have lived up to these promises. Are we looking after the needs of the 8 million landowners (8 million shareholders) of Papua New Guinea or are we squandering our opportunities?

“I call on the State institutions such as Mining Department, The MRA, and The State Negotiating Team, to recognise that we are all on the same side. We must work together for the common good of Papua New Guinea.

“If we are to successfully achieve economic independence, as a people and as a country, we must learn from the mistakes of the past. We must not repeat those mistakes.

“For Morobe, meaningful consultation and meaningful participation cannot be achieved without having our own (3) nominees representing the Provincial Government, the landowners and the LLGs. For us, this is an essential and important part of what constitutes meaningful consultation and meaningful participation.”

Press release