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Ramu Project Awaits Issue Resolutions

According to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), the revised Ramu NiCo project memorandum of agreement (MOA) is still awaiting resolution of issues and challenges affecting landowners.

Managing director Jerry Garry said that the MOA was signed in 2013 for a five-year period, which was due for review last 2019. He added that the review began in 2018 by sending notices to stakeholders, but no response was received.

Garry remarked that the election of the landowner association executives was done in 2019. The decision of the court was in favour of the MRA and the election was finished last December 2019.

“However, landowner association Basamuk, Inland and Kurumbukari (KBK), took the MRA to court and the proceedings took almost the entire year,” he said. “In 2020, the Basamuk and Inland Pipeline (landowner association) matters went before courts again, this time, on leadership. Given these challenges and issues affecting our landowners, the revised MoA review is still pending.”

One of the biggest and most ambitious mining projects in the past decade, the Ramu nickel project cost US$2.1 billion (K4.08bil). Its construction was finished in 2021 and the plant had been brought into production. The Kurumbukari nickel and cobalt laterite mine are linked by a 135km pipeline in the Kurumbukari plateau to the Basamuk processing plant east of Madang town, along the Rai Coast of the Vitiaz Basin.

The Basamuk processing plant and Ramu mine are a joint endeavour between the Highlands (8.56 per cent), landowners and the government and Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) Ramu NiCo Ltd (85 per cent).

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