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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National,December 21) – Japanese-owned Open Bay Timber Ltd has signed a land lease deal with the Papua New Guinea Forest Authority to reforest a logged area in Open Bay, East New Britain province.

PNGFA acting managing director Dike Kari said the reforestation deal would contribute to the sustainable economic growth of the country.

"After logging the natural forest, they have proceeded to utilise the state land for large scale re-plantation," Mr Kari said of the Japanese reforestation project.

He said the project was one of the three model projects for sustainable forest management.

Open Bay Timber chairman Hiroshi Nakamura stressed that it had taken five years to reach the agreement "and as such it was a joyous time for them".

Mr Nakamura referred to the conflict of interest between the ENB provincial government and OBTL over the 12,500 hectares of state land.

The provincial government had wanted the land for an oil palm project while OBTL wanted to reforest the area.

He said the decision for the Forest Authority Board to give OBTL the title to Open Bay was "reasonable and a fair decision".

Mr Nakamura said that the landowners and the people of Open Bay appreciated the decision while the company will continue to reforest the area.

Mr. Nakamura thanked PNGFA for giving the go-signal for the sub-land lease, saying the company had appreciated the decision,

He said OBTL would further expand to meet the expectations of FAB.

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