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This week's local news - July 18 - 21, 2013.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kas calls for probe into Ramu project

Mr Kas wants probe into Ramu Nickel and Cobalt project prior to mine commissioning


FORMER Madang Governor Jim Kas has supported calls for a full inquiry into the awarding of the multibillion kina Ramu Nickel and Cobalt project China Metallugical Construction Company (MCC) before the commissioning of the mine.

Mr Kas said the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare should take serious heed of the calls and concerns raised various landowner and community leaders.

He said the terms of reference of the inquiry should among others probe into:

* Why the project agreement was signed in China and not in Papua New Guinea as in the case for other projects;

* Establish the real value of the project;

* If the approved mine tailings disposal plan conformed to accepted world standards;

* Potential damages to the marine environment as a result of direct disposal of sentiments into the Basamuk Bay;

* Possibilities of commissioning an independent assessment on the whole project by PNG experts;

* If the landowners and local government councils in the project area were properly consulted; and

* The level of royalties, spin-off and employment opportunities of the local people and communities;

Mr Kas said as a leader from the province, he was very concerned that there are many important issues and unanswered questions that need to be sorted out before the commissioning of the mine.

"No slurry should be piped from Kurumbukari down to and disposed directly into Basamuk Bay until a full inquiry deals with all outstanding issues and concerns.

"The Government is not only duty bound, but has a moral responsibility to ensure that the wishes and aspirations of the people in project areas are properly addressed.

"I firmly believe that our own industry experts know many things that could well surface in a commission of inquiry," Mr Kas stressed.

He said this when supporting former Usino-Bundi MP Theo Tuya's call for the government to set up a commission of inquiry into the awarding of the project to MCC.

Mr Tuya had said that he was also shocked to learn from industry experts that the actual value of the Ramu Nickel and Cobalt project was K92 billion and not K1.7 billion as announced by the current Somare government and MMC.

His comments followed statements by high-flying PNG Geologist Jerry Gerry in Afghanistan and PHD student Geologist Paul Kia in Akita University, Japan.

Recent media reports alleged that the developer robbed the mineral deposits because the current National Alliance-led Government did not have the necessary negotiating capacity in signing the Mine Development Agreement.

Mr Kas stressed the in view of the well informed comments by industry experts and knowledgeable leaders as well as increasing landowner concerns, it was incumbent on the Sir Michael to set up an inquiry to deal with and recommend ways to resolve all outstanding issues.

He said: "Ramu is a very important project and only a commission of inquiry can establish if all due processes and procedures were strictly adhered to in the whole negotiation process eventual signing of the project in China".

"Why was the project signing done in China and not at the Government House or Port Moresby or in Madang," he asked.

As well, the former governor urged people in the project in Usino-Bundi and Rai Coast electorates to stand united and pressure the Government to resolve all outstanding issues and concerns prior to the commencement of actual production.

Mr Kas warned that failure to resolving these concerns could result in more serious problems in future.

Mr Kas wants probe into Ramu Nickel and Cobalt project prior to mine commissioning

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