Tekwie said there was speculation that copper would be exported from the mouth of the Sepik River in East Sepik using the river system and Sepik Highway to Ambunti.
“If true, then it disregards the development needs of Sandaun as the owner of the project,” Tekwie said.
“We in Sandaun are too educated and know that any cost-saving issue in this regard simply means more profit to PanAust and its promoters.
“It is certainly of no value to Sandaun’s development needs.”
He said the copper pipeline and its road next must go through Edwaki, Lumi, Nuku and into Aitape.
He said the people had waiting for the project for so long.
“Nena (Frieda) is our development issue and need.
“Nena project is a long awaited blessing we have been waiting for over 55 years.
“To take it away from the people of Sandaun is daylight robbery, which we will not allow. If PanAust and its partners want to develop our resource, they must channel all developments through Aitape (first priority) or Vanimo – no other place.”
Tekwie said the people of Sandaun understood that East Sepik especially its villages around the Frieda river boundary would benefit from socio-economic participation and environment impact.