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PNG Mineral Resources Authority to ensure houses built for villagers meet expectations

The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) says it will take the lead in ensuring that houses built for villagers at the Woodlark gold project in Milne Bay are respectable and up to expectation.
Managing director Jerry Garry said this last Friday following recent media reports of houses built by developer Geopacific Resource Ltd that were substandard with respect to material and design.
Garry said he had conveyed the authority’s disappointment during a recent communication with the company’s executive.

“The chairman (Ian Clyne) himself, was very disappointed as it was not the style of houses that were intended to be built for the landowners,” he said.
“We will correct that.
“If those houses were constructed, then we now have assurance from the boss of the company that they will stop construction of those houses and MRA will take leadership in ensuring that they build houses to our expectations.
“So that is the assurance that I could give to everyone.
“I understand the concerns raised by the local MP (Isi Henry Leonard) that they had been left out and I have written to the provincial administrator assuring him that we will be involving the provincial government in all our discussions on the Woodlark gold project going forward.”
Garry said that due to the Covid-19, they were restricted and were not able to send officers to the site.
However, Mining Minister Johnson Tuke said MRA staff would be sent to the site to assess the situation as soon as possible.
He said with restrictions on movement during the state of emergency as well as other mining issues, the MRA was unable to quickly address the Woodlark issue after it was reported in the media. “This pandemic has discouraged our movement so we have not been able to exercise our due diligence,” Tuke said.
“But in the next few weeks, the MRA staff including myself will be deployed on site so we can see what the company is doing.
“So that we can give assurance to the people of Woodlark as well as the people of Papua New Guinea.”

The National/Pacific Mining Watch

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