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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, June 9) - Madang should prepare for an influx of people when the Ramu Nickel Project starts, a spokesman for Highlands Pacific Ltd. said on Friday.

Andrew Yauieb, corporate affairs manager of Highlands - a partner in the project - said between 2,000 and 3,000 people will be directly employed and Madang Town must prepare to meet the challenges associated with a sudden influx of people.

He was speaking at the Safety and Security for Madang forum at Divine Word University last Friday.

Yauieb said among the workers would be an unspecified number of Chinese nationals that would be brought in by the Chinese government-owned China Metallurgical Corporation, which is behind the project.

He warned that Chinese are very sensitive to cultural and landowner issues and this must be considered by people in Madang that would be dealing with them.

Yauieb said any departure from recognizing the cultural sensitivities would mean the difference between the Chinese continuing with their plan to invest in the project or terminate it.

He said the project is at the crucial stage of the financier weighing the gains against challenges and any action that is deemed by the Chinese to be contrary to their expectations would derail the project.

Yauieb said any effort to address the law and order concerns of Madang Town should consider the expectations of the Chinese.

June 10, 2005

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