PAPUA New Guinea’s deputy opposition leader Sam Basil is angry that his Bulolo district missed out on participating at PNG’s recent mining and petroleum conference, held in the big city comfort and retail opportunities of Sydney, Australia.
And he's even more livid that the country's premier mining conference is held in Sydney and not in PNG, where he believes it should be hosted.
Basil said the Bulolo District Development Authority - whose activities covers the Hidden Valley gold mine, the emerging Wafi Golpu gold and copper mine and hundreds of second and third generation of gold miners – couldn’t afford the K200,000 it would have cost to send a delegation to the conference.
He said the miners benefit PNG’s national revenue by K60-70 million annually.
“The name Bulolo is synonymous with mining, so wherever there are talks about mining, Bulolo must be invited and assisted by government to be part of such high level conferences,” Basil said.
He questioned the logic of landowners spending huge amounts of funds to travel offshore “to go and talk about resources that are under our feet.
“Investors who are genuine and want to invest in and develop our resources must come to the shores of PNG to discuss how they propose to develop these resources,” he told One PNG.
“Millions of kina in limited development funds are wasted every year by PNG government departments and landowners to attend these meetings when funds could have been spent onshore.
“Also more participants and stakeholders from PNG could attend if it was hosted onshore.”
Basil called on Chamber of Mines president Greg Anderson to reconsider having future mining conferences in PNG.
“If PNG is vying to host such high level events like the APEC meeting, there is really no reason why we cannot host future mining and petroleum conferences,” he said.
“On the one hand the government is preaching about tightening the belt and cutting down on unnecessary expenditure but on the other hand they continue to spend lavishly on such expensive overseas trips.
“The government is simply not being truthful but continues to lie to the people while putting up a show for the rest of the world when PNG can least afford to.”