The Managing Director of Mineral Resources Authority, Mr Jerry Garry has assured landowners of the Wafi Golpu project that they have not missed out on benefits from the project, as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the State the developer recently.
The MD explained that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the State and the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture (WGJV), was different from a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), and has nothing to do with landowner and stakeholder benefits.
“The MOU that was signed was merely intended to establish some understanding and guidelines that give assurance to the investor that the Government was supportive of the investment to develop this major project. It is an understanding that sets out the intent of both the National Government and the developer to complete the MOA and other regulatory deliverables, to enable the Wafi Golpu mine project to commence within a reasonable timeframe. It does not in any way settle the benefits that are going to be negotiated during the Development Forum/MOA process.”
Mr Garry explained that the MOA benefits negotiations will be conducted under the development forum process which commenced in 2018. The first round of meetings is being planned for early February.
MRA will take the lead in this process and all parties including the Morobe Provincial Government and affected LLGs are urged to participate. This will ensure a mutually beneficial outcome that will be set out in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
“I assure our landowners and stakeholders that you will be fully engaged in the MOA benefits negotiation process. I want to give confidence to you all that the MRA and its government line agencies are committed to the MOA process, and we will make sure that you are adequately consulted on the way forward.”
The MD appealed to landowners and stakeholders to address grievances through the proper avenues and appropriate authorities, without taking court injunctions or forced shut downs.
He said further unnecessary disturbances, will derail the process, create uncertainty, increase the level of investment risks, and may potentially result in withdrawal of investment by the developers.
Further, Mr Garry announced that the Government has recognised the Yanta, Hengabu and Babuaf landowner associations as the entities representing the communities within the proposed SML area.
MRA has received the Land Investigation Study Report on the landowners along the proposed infrastructure corridor. The route comprises the Northern access road, the proposed SML pipelines, the Deep Sea Tailings Disposal (DSTD), and port facilities.
The report identifies the customary landowners along the infrastructure route. MRA is now planning to formalise these landowners and bring them to the ongoing development forum and MoA discussions.
“I therefore urge all stakeholders to cooperate in the MOA negotiation process so that we can realise optimal benefits to recognised impacted landowners, Morobe Provincial and Local Level Governments, and people of PNG as a result of this massive US$ 5.5 billion investment.”