Morobe mining applicants facing setbacks

Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) confirmed that Morobe Province has more than 160 mining lease conversion applications from alluvial miners, the highest in the country, according to current statistics.

MRA Regulatory Operation head Margaret Aulda said only five out of the 165 applications had met the requirements and they’ve been granted their leases.

It was mentioned that of these 165, a total of 120 of the applicants had their boundaries surveyed whilst the remaining 45 weren’t, due to several factors.

"The 120 applicants had their cases heard before MRA with 113 having completed their hearings with the remaining seven scheduled to have their hearings done this month," Ms Aulda explained.

"There are several setbacks that these applicants face despite the huge number of applicants who have submitted their documents in for approval," she added.

Ms Aulda pointed out that ownership of tenants of the lease and arguments over boundaries remain a major issue that tenant holders continue to face.

"The majority of the old lease holders who have lodged their applicants for a new lease under the new Mining Act are no longer alive.

"The applicants are younger descendants of the original holders and many have their internal issues not yet settled that is why their applications have been revoked," she explained.

Ms Aulda further pointed out that limited technical and financial capacity of the tenant holders has also been noted as a major hurdle contributing to their applications being revoked.

It was mentioned that other issues included the tenant holders’ capacity to adequately fill out proforma documents.

However, she added that the current proforma documents will be reviewed in the coming months for simplification to be done to it.

Ms Aulda concluded by stressing that the company does not involve itself in resolving landownership issues and she urged miners to have their records in order prior to submitting their applications.
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