One of the three landowner villages of the Hidden Valley Mine Project in the inlands of Morobe are celebrating this Christmas,andthey have a good reason to, thanks to their investment company’s generosity even though economic climates are currently challenging.
Kuembu Investment Limited the investment company established for the Kuembu Landowners to directly participate in the Mining Project’s business spin offs, recently paid a handsome dividend of K100, 000. 00 to its shareholders, the Kuembu people.
This was made possible through continuous dialogue and support from the Umbrella Company, NKW Group LTD through its NKW Directors, NKW Management and the shareholders themselves.
The dividend is part of the K600, 000. 00 that was paid down to the Kuembu Investment Limited by NKW in which Director of Kuembu Investment Limited, Mr. Levi Wartovo, made a decision that some portion of the dividend paid directly to the shareholders.
While presenting the cheque to his Kuembu leaders, Mr. Wartovo pointed out to the village leaders that it was an extra ordinary gesture by the investment company to pay a portion of the dividend to the people, even though it wasn’t making enough money for the directors to declare a profit.
He pointed out that the cost cutting exercise carried out by developer Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV) has taken toll on them adding that the exercise has seen them stripped of any direct contracts with the mine.
While adding this Mr. Wartovo lashed out at the MMJV for what he said as, “a slap on the face of resource owners by the developer,” due to lack of prior consultations on alternative business activities to be provided for landowner companies.
“Why couldn’t they (MMJV) sit down with us and come up with some form of understanding before they just kicked us out of our own resource development? We are the landowners, and under the current MOA we have a part to play in terms of business spin-offs from the project.”
He said that there was no logic in resource owners not even taking part in the development of their own resources on their own land.
When receiving the cheque on-behalf of the village leaders, Vice President of Nakuwi Association and Kuembu leader, Mr. Wayang Kawa praised the NKW Management and staff for their timeless effort to see the company grow economically.
He further expressed gratitude to Mr. Wartovo and the Kuembu Investment Companyfor their considerations in making sure part of the dividend paid to the investment company be released to the shareholders.
He said such gesture was crucial for landowners as it continued to gain the landowners’ trust and support at the same time hope for the future.
“Ol kain liklik hanmark we NKW na Invesman kampany givim soim gutpela wok kamap we ol pipol ken hamamas olsem tupela kampany blong ol iwok.”
(“Such gesture by NKW and Kuembu Investment Company literally show that the two landowner companies are working.”)
He added that it was the view and hopes of the people that their companies grow and called on the people of Kuembu to work together and support their investment company and NKW so that it prospers.
He told the parties concerned that as a Nakuwi representative of the people he will use the capacity of the association as the political voice of the people in the MOA Review to push for more consideration of resource owners, especially in terms of active participation in resource development.
Witnessing the presentation of the cheque NKW Managing Director, Marlen Brunskill, thankedthe Kuembu Investment Limited Director, Mr. Levi Wartovo along with his leaders in the village for their patients over the years to let NKW operate without major incidents.
“Mi laik tok tenkyu tru long ol direkta blong KIL long luksave na larim liklik moni igo long ol pipol blong ples. Dispela em nambawan we invesman kampany mekim olsem insait long dispela project.”
(“I want to thank the director of KIL for letting part of the dividend being distributed down to the village people. This is the first of its kind since the project was established.”)
He further extended his gratitude to the NKW Board of Directors where Mr. Wartovo is the chairman, who have been really comprehensive in their decisions to let NKW Management look at other business opportunities outside the Hidden Valley Mining Operations making it worthwhile for the umbrella company to make profits
Mr. Brunskill said that this was economically sound regarding the Developer’s scaling down of operations all across its operations throughout the region.
Village leaders representing the four (4) clans directly affected by the project expressed gratitude to the two companies saying they are very humbled by the gesture and pledged their continuous support to the companies and urged MMJV to give more support to their landowner companies.
So far Kuembu Investment has paid K125, 000. 00 to its shareholders.