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Landowner rights, environmental impacts among topics

By Frank Rai PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 10, 2011) – In Papua New Guinea (PNG), preparations are well underway to stage a Morobe Mining Forum in Lae later this month to discuss mining issues affecting the province.

[PIR editor’s note: Morobe Province is located in the northern coast of Papua New Guinea. Lae is the largest city in the Province.]

The forum is organized by the Morobe provincial government and is planned to be staged at the PNG University of Technology’s Duncanson Hall.

Morobe Members of Parliament (MPs) including Governor Luther Wenge, government officials, mining officials, company executives, local community members, leaders, scientific organizations and stakeholders will participate.

The purpose of the forum is to gauge views by way of debating and discussing issues concerning mining operations in the province.

Many issues have been raised currently on the operations undertaken by Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV) by affected communities with their outspoken Bulolo Member of Parliament Sam Basil.

Huon Gulf MP and Minister for Health Sasa Zibe said yesterday that all Morobean MPs, local leaders and interested parties should come together and debate issues ranging from landowners, conservation and environment and benefit sharing agreement.

Mr. Zibe said other issues in relation to mining practices employed by developers, regulations and legal frame work would also be discussed at the forum.

The outcome of this forum is to bring all known and perceived problems and issues to the table and encourage mediation process between all parties through which solutions would be found that concerns local landowners, national and provincial government and the developer, Mr. Zibe said.

He added that he decided to propose the forum because he believed that there were workable partnership with investors rather than going through court battles.

Morobe people and leaders must stand together on this issue. Mining is here to stay but we as a province must lay the ground rules for companies to come and operate, the minister said.

Mr. Zibe said that his people were set to be affected once the Wafi mining which shares the electorate with Bulolo electorate operates.

The minister said he was hopeful that amicable solutions would be found for current dispute between all parties involved in the Morobe Mining Joint Venture through mediation after the debate and forum.

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