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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 25, 2000 – Post Courier)---The state has approved a significant number of development projects worth K22.5 million (US$ 9 million) for immediate implementation in the Western Province.

The projects were approved by the Secretary for the Department of Mining and the Commissioner General for Taxation.

They will be built under the Tax Credit Scheme.

The department said the projects would bring services to those areas affected by the Ok Tedi mine and some areas that had not seen government services for a long time.

The department said in a statement last week that the projects would bring lasting benefits to the communities of Western Province.

The projects were endorsed by the Western Province administration, which has undertaken to maintain the projects.

Mining Secretary Kuma Aua said the projects represent one of the many positive aspects of the Ok Tedi Mining Ltd project.

Mr. Aua advised that the projects were focused on upgrading education and communication in the province.

"The projects demonstrate the government's commitment to put back into Western Province lasting benefit outcomes from the modern mining project at Tabubil," he said. "The Ok Tedi project is blending the traditional and modern lifestyle together.

"It shows that cooperation between landowners, the government and resource developers will bring community benefits to all local people," Mr. Aua said.

The projects covered under the new Tax Credit approvals include Daru CIS - hybrid toilet system, Daru hospital-hybrid toilet system, Balm town road upgrade, Balimo station overhead electrical extension, Balimo community school - double classroom, Balimo town water supply system, Balimo hospital morgue, Balimo Technical College - technology buildings, Balimo airport terminal building, Kiunga town school projects, Kiunga township sewerage upgrade, Kiunga town water supply system upgrade, Kiunga township power upgrade and airport runway lighting, Gretutu elementary school classroom and teachers houses, Ningerum high school projects, Western Province remote area school staff housing, Mt Aiyang rural telecommunication stage one, and Mitugunap community school.

Mr. Aua said that while the national government was committed to setting up facilities and infrastructure in mining project provinces, the onus was with the respective provincial governments to ensure that appropriate budget provisions were made each year to maintain these facilities.

He urged the Fly River provincial government to take appropriate actions so that these facilities would provide many years of useful services to the province and its people.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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