PNG Government grants Special Purpose Lease to Newcrest Lihir

By: PNG Business News April 06, 2022

Photo credit: PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum

The National Government has granted a Special Purpose Lease to Newcrest’s wholly owned subsidiary Lihir Gold Limited (LGL), which now allows the company to develop the Londolovit Township on Lihir Island further.

Minister for Department of Lands and Physical Planning, Mr John Rosso, handed over the Special Purpose Lease (SPL) for Portion 1021 in Lihir, Namatanai, to LGL in Port Moresby last week.

“On behalf of the Department, I thank Newcrest Lihir and key Lihir stakeholders for seeking our assistance with the consolidation and grant of the SPL for Portion 1021,” said Mr Rosso.

“Newcrest Lihir is the first mining project in the country to have considered planning and developing a town with post-mine closure in mind; I commend Newcrest for taking this approach,” added Mr Rosso.

The consolidation and granting of the SPL are the first phase of a project that would ultimately create a sustainable future for the people of Lihir post-mine closure.

Newcrest Lihir embarked on this project following consultations with key stakeholders on Lihir. The process involved the conversion of two Agricultural Leases for Portions 422 and 717, held by LGL, to the consolidated SPL.

The first subdivision of the SPL will see the development and grant of approximately 100 state leases to the Kapit families affected by mining activities. The second subdivision will further develop Londolovit township to boost economic growth.

“I am delighted that Newcrest is committed to utilising the state lease to achieve these outcomes. DLPP committed to delivering the consolidated title to you (Newcrest), and we are proud to have delivered on our commitment. We will continue to support you at every stage of the project,” Mr Rosso said.

Additionally, Mr Rosso encouraged his technical teams within DLPP to develop a long-term partnership that would benefit all stakeholders in the project. He also urged Lihirian people to support the project.

“Lihirian communities, take ownership of this project and support it because this township (Londolovit) is important for the generations of Lihirians yet to come,” he said.

In partnership with the Nimamar Local Level Government (NLLG), DLPP and other key stakeholders, Newcrest Lihir is preparing to continue with other project phases, which include town planning and surveying.

Newcrest Lihir General Manager, Mr Johan Labuschagne, received the SPL on behalf of the company and thanked the DLPP Minister, his team, and key stakeholders for collaborating on this project.

“We are delighted as a company and the first mining project to achieve this outcome as it sets the trend for future projects. Owning this Special Purpose Lease is a unique situation in PNG. We are fully committed to creating a sustainable and positive legacy through this lease,” said Mr Labuschagne.

“We look forward to working together with all stakeholders to ensure Londolovit Township becomes a prosperous town, supporting our mining operation now and post-life of mine,” he added.

Furthermore, NLLG Deputy President, Mr Sebastian Siadodoh, commended Newcrest Lihir for embarking on the project, describing it as the ‘right move’.

“This project aligns with the development aspiration of the people we serve – traditional landowners, affected mining resettlement landowners, and over 25 000 people who live, invest and work in Lihir. Our Kapit people will also now have security of tenure, bringing them together to settle as a community on state land,” he said.

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