The Wafi-Golpu landowners have finally voiced out their support to the National Government on the environmental permit given to mine developers.
The five associations chairmen - Victor Geactuluc (Yanta Development Association), John Nema (Hengambu Landowner Association), Jack Raban (Babuaf Development Corporation) of the Special Mining Lease (SML) area including Joseph Tetang (Wampar Pipeline Association) and Gae Galang (Wagan Outfall Association) - said they want the project to proceed and are asking Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu to desist from any purported court proceedings against the Sate about the deep-sea tailings placement (DSTP).
Saonu, however, said that Morobe’s position still stands. “I will do what is right, just and fair for everyone,” he said.
According to an independent body monitoring and evaluating process for the last four years, the landowners shouldn’t rush into things. The leaders argued that this process may cost Morobe and the provincial government millions of kina and added that the mining forum is the best place to discuss this problem.
Nema said that he has lost more than 20 of his community members to common natural calamities and lack of basic health services. “I am against the move by our governor to register another court proceeding against the National Government while my people are suffering and dying without seeing any real developments or benefiting from their land,” he said.
Geactuluc said that they don’t support the intention of the governor to take this to court. “We urge the good governor to refrain from wasting his time with his consultants and advisers but instead commit his time and resource to mobilise the SML, Pipeline and Outfall landowners through their associations in preparation for the upcoming Wafi Project MoA,” he said.
For his part, Tetang urged the governor to have a discussion on how he intends to recognise the Huon Gulf coastal communities benefit-sharing instead of fighting a losing arrangement to prevent DSTP. “That is why the developer has chosen DSTP because it is much safer and could not harm the marine resources or the coastal communities based on the research and studies conducted,” he said.