NIPG demands to be party to mine purchase deal

New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan is calling on the executive management of Lihir and Simberi Gold mines to include the provincial government in its negotiations for mine purchase agreements.

Sir Julius said it is important for the people of New Ireland to have a say on the type of miner  allowed to mine in the province.

Governor Chan said he was disappointed to learn through the media that Newcrest has already gone ahead to strike a deal with American mining  company, Newmont. 

“We don’t all of a sudden want to have another Pogera on our hands, where the mine stops and we have to start from scratch again.

“There must be proper consultation between all parties concerned before final decision on a new mining company is made," he said.

Sir Julius acknowledged that the possible purchase of Lihir mine by Newmont was an important development however he said the miner must be fully briefed on all the original Lihir MOA’s, the current arrangements under the tax credit scheme and be prepared to carryout all outstanding obligations.

“So when they are talking about selling, it hurts me because I have worked hard with the people of Lihir, to make the mine at Lihir Gold become a reality.

“There is no respect from Newcrest or St Barbara to let us know that they want to sell the mines, and why they want to sell them.

“I must know, they make money here, they enrich themselves here and they enrich themselves by selling and I am the government of New Ireland and my people deserve to be respected”.

The Governor said any economic activity or developers being brought into the province must undergo a proper vetting process.

“It is the role of all Provincial Governments to have a clear vision of who should be benefiting from development in the Province, closely supervise and monitor developments in the province to ensure they achieve the goals established and work closely with developers and understand best international practice those lessons can be applied in New Ireland.”

The issues with the Lihir Gold mine include full implementation of the National Government Responsibilities under the original and current MOA’s, appropriate supervision and use of the Tax credit scheme, implementation of NIP stakeholders recommendations for changes in the new , revised MoA, and potential sale of the mine and optimal strategies to be followed by NIPG and NIPG stakeholders in the event of a takeover.

“They have not fulfilled K1 billion worth of Lihir MOA projects. Because of the price movement over the last 30 years the prices have increased.

“I will not allow a takeover, we will not cooperate with it. We will make sure that every agreement signed in 1995 must be fulfilled if a new company takes over,” said Sir J.

He said for Simberi, issues include levels of production since 2015, royalty payments since 2015, recent production problems and possible takeover of mine implications.

“Simberi, had some type of Agreement with my Government in 1995, 1996, at that time Simberi did not have any Gold and they said, they needed to wait for production to increase.

“We agreed once they reached a 100,000 ounces they would pay royalties to the Provincial Government. They have reached that in the last five years now but they have not  given a single Toea to the Provincial Government."

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