Project agreements not public documents

The State Team engaged in the Porgera Mining Project Community Development Agreement (CDA) in Wabag, yesterday (22 May).

The State team explained to the Porgera Landowners Association (PLOA) that by law, only parties to the Porgera Project Commencement Agreement (PPCA) and associated agreements can have copies of the agreements.

Deputy State Solicitor Bonny Gelu said this in response to the PLOA’s spokesperson, Maso Mangape, who questioned the state as to why they were not given copies of the PPCA and other agreements.

Gelu said the agreements were protected by law and that there were legal and financial implications surrounding access to these agreements.

“If you signed the agreement, you can have copies. If you didn’t the sign the agreements, you cannot have copies,” explained Gelu.

He asked the PLOA to inform the state if they had signed any of the agreements and if so, they should identify the particular agreements they had signed so that the State could locate and make copies available.

In addition, the State pointed out that the PLOA and the Enga Provincial Government are shareholders of Mineral Resources Enga (MRE) which means they own MRE. Since the MRE, is a party to the PPCA and associated agreements, the PLOA and EPG can easily get copies from their own entity which represents them as shareholders/owners.

Gelu said New Porgera Limited (NPL) had circulated to all stakeholders of the CDA, a summary of the benefits contained in the PPCA and associated agreements, which could be incorporated into the CDA template.

The PLOA also asked the State to identify who the parties to the CDA were. In response the State through Gelu, explained that according to section 98 and 99 of the Organic Law on Provincial Government & Local Level Government, the parties are the Special Mining Lease (SML) landowners, the Porgera Rural Local Level Government and the Enga Provincial Government (EPG).

However, Gelu explained that this did not mean that non-SML landowners like the Lease for Mining Purposes (LMP), Mining Easement (ME) and Riverine communities could not benefit. He said non-SML landowners would still benefit from the project except that they could not become parties to the CDA.

Chairman of the CDA negotiations Winterford Eko, explained to all parties that Section 5 of the Mining Act 1992, states that all minerals in the country is owned by the National Government. He said this meant that the National Government as the owner of all minerals, has the legal authority to negotiate deals with investors at the highest level. He said the PPCA was therefore negotiated at the National Government level, adding that that the CDA parties could only negotiate based on what had already been agreed at the State level.

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