Monday, July 26, 2010

Landowners from 4 project areas Joined Forces

Papua New Guinea is on the pinnacle of major resources boom in the country and the government is doing its best to create an investment friendly environment at the same time customary landowner issues are reaching boiling point all around the major resource development and proposed project sites.

Landowner issues ranging from, consultation processes, agreements, landownership, participation, environmental plans and permits, social mapping and spin off businesses are some of the issues are raised from the major resource development projects in PNG.

Landowners from the major project areas in PNG have been fighting in isolation to address their concerns since the first resource development project in the country was developed. However, for the first time in the history of PNG, four (4) major project sites and project impacted areas came together to join forces to address their issues.

In a joint press conference held at the Aku Lodge conference room on the 20th of July 2010, representatives from the Watut River Union (Morobe), the riverine communities union organizing around the impacts on the Watut river system by the Hidden valley mine, Raicoast Anti-DSTP group (Madang) who are opposing the plans for the dumping of the Ramu Nickel mine waste into the Basamuk Bay , representatives from the clans from the LNG project (Hela) who did not signed the benefit sharing agreement, Unitech students from the new Hela province, New Ireland Resource Watch, the people's movement of the New Ireland Province who oppose the deep seabed mining, the Bismarck Solomons Sea Indigenous People's Council (BSSIPC) also opposing deep seabed mining and the Madang People's forum (MPF)collectively want the government to respond to their major concerns respectively, review all these projects and repeal the new environmental act.

The group made a strong call to Somare to step down and NA to be removed from the government, because they claim the current NA/Somare government is not representing the interest of the people and seen to be driven by foreign investors. If there is going to be a change in government, the group made it clear also that, these demands need top be looked into immediately. The press conference was done a day before the adjournment of the parliament to November. However the group was very clear that if the government does not change or if the new government will not look into their demands, then the people will take it upon themselves to clean up the mess.

This group is also calling on all other landowners from other project areas in PNG to come together and work together because, the government is serving foreign interests.

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