PNG LANDOWNERS WANT BENEFIT FROM RAMU MINE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Nov. 10) – A church leader says the Government has to make its position clear on land to be used in the Ramu nickel/cobalt mine project in Madang Province.

Former plantations owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea are needed for parts of the mine project.

Church general secretary Fua Singin said yesterday the church still holds the titles to the plantations but that some customary landowners had moved into the land.

He said the church had asked the Government to clarify whether people had been given any rights over the land, but was still waiting for a reply.

Mr. Singin said the church held the land in trust for the people and wanted to ensure that the local people benefited from any spinoffs from the Ramu mine.

The proposed mine is to be developed by the China Metallurgical Construction Group Corporation with 85 per cent equity and the remaining 15 per cent held by the landowners, the Mineral Resources Development Company and Highlands Pacific.

Mr. Singin said the church also wanted to present the report on projected environmental risks with the project, but the Prime Minister’s staff had not responded to the request for a handover meeting. A report was critical of many aspects of the mine proposal, especially the plan to dump waste at sea.

November 11, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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