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Mining and petroleum equipment burnt in PNG's Hela region

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister  Peter O’Neill has instructed the Petroleum Department to deal immediately with claims raised by landowners from Hela region over landowner benefit entitlements.
According to police, armed protestors blocked a road and burned mining and petroleum  equipment and machines belonging to a landowner company.
Hela police commander Chief Superintendent Martin Lakari said the Angore PDL 8 landowners claimed they were owed K35 million as project security fund.
A few weeks ago, this same group of landowners petitioned the government over their share of payments.
O’Neill told the local newspaper The National  that he  directed Petroleum Department secretary and his department to give immediate attention to claims (outstanding payments) that were put in.
“We (Government) are not walking away from it.
“We must do the clan-vetting and landowners need to help us finish this process.
“We will honour all commitments that were signed under the UBSA (umbrella benefits-sharing agreement).”
Lakari said frustrated landowners dug up the roads, removed culverts from bridges and burnt three pieces of machinery near the PNG LNG Project area in the early hours of yesterday.
Lakari said the armed landowners blocked the road at Hunda, making it impossible for vehicles and police to go through.
He said the road from Tari into Komo, Hides and Nogoli had been dug up at various sections.
Security personnel on the ground were outnumbered and handicapped, he said.
Project operator ExxonMobil PNG Ltd confirmed reports of vandalism relating to the Angore pipeline construction project and it was monitoring tensions in the Highlands.
The 11km Angore pipeline is being built to connect the Angore gas field to the Hides gas conditioning plant.
“Host government security forces are in the area and also investigating. Our staff are all safe. Production at the Hides Gas conditioning plant is continuing normally. ExxonMobil PNG is committed to maintaining a positive relationship with landowners, the government and the wider community,” a company spokesperson said.
Police said workers at ExxonMobil’s Angore and Hides camp, including Oil Search’s Nogoli camps, were safe.

The National/Pacific Mining Watch

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