MRA Happy With Decision On Wafi-Golpu
Mineral Resources Authority managing director Jerry Garry has welcomed the decision by the Governor of Morobe Province to withdraw further legal proceedings against the State in relation to the Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project.
Mr Garry said the decision was reached after many high-level discussions between the national government and the provincial government.
He said the court injunction relating to the memorandum of understanding signed between the State and the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture Partners had completely stalled the Special Mining Lease, (SML) permitting process since the first quarter last year.
This has prevented anyone from doing anything on the Wafi-Golpu project with all statutory assessment process by the MRA being suspended including activities on the project site which led to project personnel being laid off.
Mr Garry said, as a gesture to commit to the understanding, a tentative timetable proposed was signed last Thursday, however, the State through the MRA development coordination branch will finalise its work program after consultations with stakeholders including the development partners and will announce a detailed schedule.
The detailed scheduled will be for activities including:
Formalise the landowning groups for SML, pipeline corridor and deep sea tailings placement outfalls;
Stakeholder meetings through development forum process for the MOA on benefit-sharing arrangements;
Concurrently re-initiate dialogues with the Joint Venture partners for the mining development contract;
Conclude technical assessments, review financial modelling and prepare assessments for mining advisory council’s considerations;
Ensure environment-permitting process is completed in a timely manner because environment permit is a mandatory requirement for SML permitting; and
Finalisation of compensation agreements.
He said a technical assessment of the proposal for development, environment permit, compensation agreement, mining development contract are necessary requirements for the grant of a SML. The MoA process can continue after the grant of a SML and is not a prerequisite.
“We will convey our intentions to the developer and we are looking forward to re-commence our assessment and negotiations processes by end of May,” Mr Garry said.
“I am appealing to any aggrieved party to discuss any grievances outside the court as any further delay caused by the court injunction will derail our standing and may cause further strain on this mega project.”