Non-renewal to have major impacts: PLOA

The Porgera Landowners Association (PLOA) says the non-renewal of the Special Mining Lease for the Porgera Gold Mine under the current developer will have significant impacts not only for landowners, but the country as well.

PLOA Negotiation Team Chairman, Maso Mangape, says the decision announced by the Prime Minister, James Marape, was made on ill advise.

Mangape, told this newsroom that the announcement came as a surprise to the landowners, claiming several letters to the Government to discuss the future of the mine were not acknowledged.

Mangape said the uncertainty clouding the future of the mine has heightened after Barricks announcement to temporarily suspend operations.

“We haven’t been consulted. We understand that it’s the prerogative of the Government of the day to make whatever decision it sees fit to make. But with the current situation on Porgera, we believe it’s not in the right interest of the country, given the current economic situation,” said Mangape.

During the announcement of the non-renewal of the Porgera SML Prime Minster James Marape said the decision, made on recommendation by the Mining Advisory Council, will see maximum benefits for landowners.

“To the landowners of Porgera, mi laik tok pisin lo upla. Tude yu kaikai K2.50 stap. Lo yu lo kisim K10, K15, K20, or K100, em disla disisen mipla  I mekim. Noken tok yu pro-Barrick or anti-Barrick,” said Marape. (Today you only receive K2.50. The decision we made will see you receive K10, K15, K20, K100.)

“K2.50 yu kaikai em ino moni. Envaironmen bilon yu I bagarap, laifstail bilong yu afekted. (The K2.50 you receive is not money. You environment is destroyed, your lifestyle is affected)

“Disla disisen mipla mekim em blo gudpla blo olgeta lenowna.” (The decision we made is for the best interest of all landowners.)

Mangape says unless they know what is contained for a new arrangement, they are skeptical.

“The landowners would have appreciated if the Government when it made its announcement not to renew the licesne and plans to nationalize the project announcing the ho0w much of the ownership will be allocated to the landowners, the Provincial Government and National Government, “said Mangape.

Also, the decision to deploy 100 PNG Defence Force personnel to Porgera came a s a surprise to local, causing anxiety in the community.

“With the Deployment of the soldiers, I see this as the Government wasting money. There is no threat on the ground.

The PLOA is requesting the Government to have an open dialogue and discuss the future of the mine with them.

Cedric Patjole