All Morobeans must unite to bring about change and development to the province for all our people to progress and prosper in line with the rest of Papua New Guinea.
After APEC, it is now our time and moment to be counted. As proud Morobeans we must together seize the opportunity to develop our province.
And as we have an absolutely extraordinary project in the Wafi Golpu mining project for Papua New Guinea as a State to commercialize in 2019, then we must commercialize it, and reap the benefits therein for all Morobeans! Papua New Guinea as a sovereignty will be well represented on the negotiation table through the MoA process, and through the Mining Development Contract the redistribution of benefits to the rest of the people of Papua New Guinea will happen, so no one should miss out!
As the Member for Huon and the constituent representative of the people who fall within the Wampar LLG boundary and beyond to the rest of Huon Gulf,I welcome the development challenges of the Wafi Golpu mining project that sometimes sees us agreeing to disagree, but more importantly wanting to reach a consensus on a way forward to embrace development rather then oppose an opportunity that will undoubtedly bring a multitude of other opportunities and benefits.
I would sincerely like to see a good part of the projects initial total capital costs of K9.1 billion spent in Morobe from 2019 onwards, for the benefit of the people of Morobe and the local economy. So I will press hard to maximize the local content component of the project during the construction phase of the project for SML landowners and the Morobe people in general at the forthcoming development forum.
I have reviewed the provisions of the MOU recently executed by the State and its commercial partners WGJV on 11 December 2018, and believe that there is good merit to support the MoUs statement of intent by both government and the proponents of the project to attain certainty and predictability around the project’s fiscal, regulatory and legislative framework. Certainty around the ambitious time frame to permitting and licensing toward the issuing of the Special Mining Lease is also a big plus and a positive step towards the project materializing in 2019.
There are also hidden gems within the MOU that has fantastic value for the province as a whole and indeed the country. I am satisfied that the SML landowners will win from this MOU because of the kicker in the increase in royalty up from 2% to 3%. I am also happier that the commercial owners of the project will carry the cost of sunk cost until production and that they have considered a financing option for the same, and that we as Morobeans have not lost out on Free Carry Equity as it remains at 5% in line with precedent and practice.
I am not aggrieved with the State’s decision to take a lower equity position then its right as an option of up to 30% interest in the project as the decision is a function of cost and affordability on the part of the State.
I maintain that my people have the right to negotiate with the State directly at the development forum MoA negotiations for an overall increase to our equity position to 10% from within the States elected position of 20%equity stake or interest in the Wafi Golpu mining project. However, for the absolute interest of the Morobe people including the SML landowners, I will maintain my position that the additional equity negotiated between the State and the projects beneficiary group will be at cost and on par with the States acquisition costs!
I am mindful that the State and all the people of Papua New Guinea will share 51% of free cash flow from the Wafi Golpu mining project as expressed by the MOU, and that the Morobe people will only receive a small proportion of this benefit! So the State must be fair in its negotiation with the Morobe people and the SML landowners at the Development Forum and negotiation of the MoA, for it is from deep within our traditional and customary lands that all of Papua New Guinea will benefit from this mining project and its significant cash flow.
So it is for this reason that I would like to stress that never again do I want to see Morobeans relegated to play second fiddle or for that matter take back row seats. Sadly this has gone on for far to long. So I call on all Morobean parliamentary leaders to engage in dialogue to reach a consensus for the development of what is arguably one of PNGs best mining projects.
Let us all go to the Development Forum and negotiate the best deal for our people with the State and its commercial and corporate partner as that is the appropriate avenue for redress for the Morobe people and that is through the Development Forum negotiation process to secure the best deal for Morobe Province and its people.
Picture courtesy of National Parliament of PNG