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« Is there a better way to deal with landowners & royalties? | Main | Oil Search chairman & executives need to stop blame-shifting »

16 May 2018

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I closely watched the world class Porgera gold mine develop from the initial mining warden’s hearings to the signing of three historic agreements between the national government, the provincial government and the landowners which led to the official opening.

I still have a copy of the agreements which I helped to publish - 'The Porgera Agreements' - which spell out clearly the equity and royalty payments the landowners would get and all the other spin-off benefits as a result of the mine development.

Detailed lists of major undertakings of the national government and Enga Provincial Government were also included to avoid similar problems that were brewing over at the Bougainville copper mine at the time.

The agreement concerning royalty payments to the landowners is stated thus:

The National Government agrees to pay all the royalty to the Provincial Government and undertakes to ensure that the Provincial Government will distribute 23% of the royalty as follows;

-- 8% to the Special Mining Lease Landowners,

-- 5% to the Porgera Development Authority for use for community development,

-- 10% to an investment fund set up under National Government legislation for the benefit of the children of the Special Mining Lease Landowners and administered by a board appointed for the purpose which shall include representation from the Special Mining Lease Landowners.

Once the agreements were in place and when all stakeholders were satisfied, the mine swung into full operation. After about one year, the mine was officially opened by Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu on Saturday 20 October 1990.

To this day there has been no dispute over payment of royalties between the national government, the Enga provincial government and the landowners.

It appears to me that the rich LNG project in Hela was rushed. Many genuine landowners have passed on without benefitting from the project which promised so much.

Like Francis Nii and Phil Fitzpatrick say, the royalty payments should be made now when the people need it most after the devastating earth quark. That is the most humane and Malensian thing to do.

The government must pay an equal amount direct to each clan or family units. They themselves will distribute it to every member.

The highlands people know how to distribute, they have always been distributing pork, wealth, food, compensation payments etc etc - you name it.

This is common sense. Whatever belongs to the landowners, give it to them. Whatever belongs to you, government of the day, you can have it.

Let's be honest here and there won't be trouble looming around the four corners of this beautiful country.

Tokim ol ya. Olgeta manmeri toktok na still Onil na Mârabe nonap lo harim. Steal blong ol bai kamap ples klia nau.
_________

Translation - "A message to everyone. People are saying that O'Neill and Marape are still not listening. Knowledge of the corruption is becoming clear in the community." Important statement from the perceptive Mathias Kin as one of the impediments to effective political engagement in PNG has been the awareness gap between the elite and village people, who - in Simbu anyway - seem to be tuning in - KJ

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