MINERS AGAINST PNG LANDOWNER RIGHTS TO RESOURCES

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Companies say foreign investors would stay away

By Firmin Nanol PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Radio Australia, Aug. 16, 2011) - Papua New Guinea's mining industry has expressed grave concerns over plans by the PNG government to revert ownership of minerals and resources to traditional landowners.

Mining Minister Byron Chan says it's reviewing existing laws to give ownership of minerals on and under the land to landowners.

He says PNG is an island of gold floating on a sea of oil, but the people are living in very poor conditions.

Mr Chan says the changes will allow them to benefit from their resources.

PNG's Mining industry has expressed concerns about the proposed changes.

The Chamber of Mines and Petroleum's Executive Director, Greg Anderson says it will scare off investors who will not want to work in PNG.

"Noboby is going to invest on something that is uncertain and you would scare off investors like you would not believe," he said. "Because I don't think its workable in Papua New Guinea."

The government says it [seeks] to have the changes legislated before the 2012 general elections.

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