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PNG Landowners want compensation for Australian Mining Company and PNG's MRA

Staff Reporter | 10:48 PM | |
A TRADITIONAL land owning group from New Ireland Province is adamant that K1 million compensation be paid for breaking their traditional yet powerful gorgor by an Australian exploration company and the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) in pursuit of mineral exploration in and around the Anir Island.

Anir Island Resources Owners Association (AIROA) chairman Paul Penua Mimfin and AIROA’s consultant Joel Suraka told this newspaper yesterday that breaking the gorgor is a violation of customary laws that would carry serious penalties.

"For a foreign company like Mayur with the assistance of MRA officers to trespass customary land and fishing areas without a concern is a serious crime in our society," Mr Mimfin said.

"What makes us angrier is for MRA officers to quietly bring in Mayur without our knowledge even though AIROA has signed the objection form 14 and delivered to MRA officers (named) yet they had the guts to deliberately ignore that and violate our gorgor," Mr Suraka said.

"This is a total disrespect to the people who are culturally rooted and custom oriented. If you break the tabu or gorgor you suffer the consequence.

"There is nothing that MRA and Mayur can do to reserve the damage done.

Mr Mimfin said AIROA has registered their concern and demand for K1million belkol with Minister Byron Chan, MRA and Mayur and expecting a positive outcome.

Meanwhile, when this newspaper contacted the MRA officer concerned, the officer denied any violation of the gorgor saying "ol ino putim wanpla gorgor" (there was no gorgor) and referred the call to the managing director’s office.

The call to the MD’s office rang out while an officer who assured this reporter to return calls didn’t since Monday.