Mining Minister and member for Namatanai, Byron Chan is summoning all the support he can get to fully revitalize the Lihir Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
The full revitalization of the Lihir MOA is believed to pave way for Canadian Based Nautilus Minerals to pursue their development agenda on the highly controversial Solwara 1 project along the coast of Namatanai as well as pending issues on Lihir and Simberi Gold Mines.
Whilst addressing the recently concluded provincial assembly meeting in Kavieng, New Ireland Province which was also attended by State Investments Minister, Ben Micah, Chan said;
“I want the provincial government and the respective LLGs including Nimamar and Central New Ireland to work with me to complete the MoA process. Failure to comply would mean, people will miss out on the benefits captured in the MOA such as the Infrastructure Benefit Package,” Chan said.
Minister Chan who is also the Namatanai MP, which host the largest Lihir Gold Mine, Simberi and world’s first seabed mine in Solwara 1 in its back yard, he called on leaders in his electorate to participate and be party to the current MOA discussions.
“New Ireland has to be united and this means leaders of respective LLGs in Namatanai need to cooperate in order for the people to benefit from the massive revenue flows from the mines we have. Enough of petty politics!” he said.
The minister said he will be working closely with Governor Sir Julius Chan in the current revised Lihir, Simberi and the Nautilus MOAs.
Chan also called for an increase in equity on infrastructure benefit package from the developers of Solwara 1 project, Nautilus which should be considered as a special case.
He said for any development packages, he will take it up with the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, now that the State has honored its commitment of K300 million in the Solwara 1 project.
As reported earlier by PNG Loop, Chan has gone ahead giving the green light for highly controversial Solwara 1 project to eventuate despite concerns on the environmental consequences from the underwater mining.