Porgera landowners petition Govt

The Porgera Landowners Association (PLOA) has called on the Government of Prime Minister James Marape to make a decision on the mine licence renewal without delay.

The landowners made the call through a petition received by Minister for Mining, Johnson Tuke, in Porgera on Friday 10 January.

The landowners are opting for nothing more than a fair and equitable deal in the renegotiation outcomes with maximum and improved benefits to landowners.

The PLOA petition was presented by Chairman of the Landowners Negotiating Committee, Maso Mangape, to Minister Tuke, witnessed by PLOA members and clan agents.

Minister Tuke received the petition in the presence of a high-powered government delegation to the district, which included Minister for Police Bryan Kramer, Managing Director of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), Jerry Garry, Member for Lagaip-Porgera Tomait Kapili and First Secretary to the Mining Minister, Motsy David.

The PLOA presented a general summary of its position paper on the mine lease extension to the government delegation highlighting amongst others, its conditions for a lease grant and its proposed mine benefits sharing arrangement.

Mangape said the PLOA is concerned the government’s delay in making a decision is causing anxiety and undesired outcomes in the district. The PLOA wants Government to grant lease to the current operator, BNL, to ensure uninterrupted mine operations.

“We feel there is a need for the government to make a decision quickly on the mining lease. The more it delays, people are being kept in suspense and this is attracting undesired reactions. Allow BNL to continue mining while we go to the negotiating table to discuss our terms,” Mangape stated.

He said BNL has had a 30-year relationship with the Porgera landowners and a lot of the legacy issues remain unresolved, which includes resettlement. PLOA noted that most of the unresolved legacy issues were the responsibility of the national and Engan provincial governments. While the PLOA acknowledges this, the group expressed it is well positioned to go to the negotiating table.

“We want a better deal and improved terms and conditions for the landowners, not like in the past 30 years when the national and provincial governments have benefited most. We want equitable and maximum benefits allowable by law,” Mangape stressed.

The PLOA in its petition is also requesting for the Prime Minister to acknowledge that the PLOA on its own terms is inviting all six members of Parliament from the mine’s host province, Enga, and also those from Hela, including the Governor and electorates which host the mine supporting infrastructure like the Hides Gas Plant, to join in the Mine Development Contract and MOA negotiations.

The landowner group has also requested to the Prime Minister for the position papers of all stakeholders to be collated and to expedite the facilitation of the MDC and subsequent Benefit Sharing Arrangements (MOAs).

In response, Minister Tuke said to deliver the PLOA petition to the Prime Minister. He described the presentation as very exclusive, adding it also highlighted a lot of the government’s concerns.

He highlighted there are two government processes relating to the licence renewal, one which is regulatory facilitated by the Mineral Resources Authority and the other, the process of the State Negotiating Team (SNT).

“I clearly get what you have presented. Cabinet will make a decision and the Government focus is on maximised benefits, a fair deal for the company, government and landowners. The government is ready to work with landowners.

“We are now going through the Mining Advisory Council process which is a regulatory process. The State Negotiating Team (SNT) will look after the Mine Development Contract, which is a national function. PLOA will be asked to make presentation at the right time,” Minister Tuke said.

He commended the Porgera people and landowners for allowing the mine to continue without any disturbances after the period when the mine licence expired in August last year.

Minister Tuke said he was pleased to have come to Porgera to get an appreciation of the environment and have direct interaction with the landowners in Porgera.

(Chairman of the Landowners Negotiating Committee, Maso Mangape, presenting the PLOA petition to Minister Johnson Tuke in the presence of senior government delegation of [from left to right] Member for Lagaip-Porgera, Tomait Kapili, Minister for Police, Bryan Kramer and Managing Director of the Mineral Resources Authority, Jerry Garry. On Mangape’s right is Dickson Pundi, Deputy Chairman of the Landowners Negotiation Committee)

Press release