Deputy PM To Meet With MRA For Mining Talks
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General Davis Steven is planning to meet with the Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) to address issues relating to mining activities around the country.
The Deputy PM made this known at a media briefing in Alotau last Friday saying MRA should be the mouthpiece, eyes, and ears of the government to ensure that government interests and customary landowners’ rights were protected.
Mr Steven was commenting on concerns raised by Samarai Murua MP Isi Henry Leonard at the provincial assembly meeting on mining activities commencing at the Woodlark Island without the knowledge of customary landowners, local government authorities and the provincial government.
“This matter has been raised at the Milne Bay provincial assembly meeting and questions have been asked about the Mining Development Agreement and the Mining Tenement which entitles mining activities on Woodlark Island.
Officially the matter was raised today (Friday) and we are not going to turn a blind eye to it,” Mr Steven said.
He said Milne Bay province in particular had learned from the Misima Mine experience and that legacy was a constant reminder to the government and national leaders.
Mr Steven said the economic interests of the people and government whether it be immediate or long terms should be protected.
“Yes, I will raise this issues with MRA, it is important now that we manage a very ambitious budget in an attempt to put our economy forward to send the right signal to investors and therefore we will consult with relevant agencies and in this case MRA,” he added.
The Deputy PM said the Government has pushed for decentralisation of economic empowerment, especially for the revenue generating agencies.
He said 42 years on and government agencies have not yet learned to communicate with each other on such issues. “This is one thing, mining tenements are granted in Konedabu and then the activities are staged in Woodlark Island as an example.
Yet the agencies that run the permits do not go down there and talk to government officers on the ground.
They have to work closely with their counter parts in the province to ensure smooth operations and that is the system that operates in the government,” Mr Steven added.
Steven also said Prime Minister James Marape will announced a policy shift that has been approved by the National Executive Council which will affect the mining industry on the conduct of mining activities in the country.
“Marape Steven Government is in the process of making sure that our provinces and resources owners benefit from their resources a lot more and that means policy change and legislative change.
In due course, the PM will announce the policy shift and the Ministry of Mining will get the dialogue going on the details on this case,” the Deputy PM said.
He said it was prime time for all sectors in the extractive sector to colloboarte and work together for the benefit of the people and their government.
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