Opposition Leader says Gold Deal not following PM Marape's Take Back PNG motto

 The Papua New Guinea Opposition have questioned the Government on the deal they recently struck with a Singaporean-based company to refine all the gold in the country.    Leader of the Opposition Belden Namah yesterday asked a series of questions to Prime Minister James Marape regarding the deal, with Mr Namah saying this contradicted Mr Marape’s ‘Take back PNG’ agenda.    “There have been serious concerns raised by our citizens, the industry players and the Chamber of Mines.    “From the Agreement as I see involves three (3) different and distinct businesses; they are; gold refinery, gold mint and gold bank,” he said.    “The agreement also includes provision for gold police, whose primary responsibility would be to act as an authority.”    

Mr Namah asked the prime minister if details and clarity could be provided with the terms of the agreement and how the country t stood to benefit.    “Can the PM inform this house who is the proponents and promoters of this project?,” he asked.    “Can the PM inform this house and the people of our country whether or not his government did any form of Due Diligence on the company?    “Did the PM give first right of refusal to the Independent State of PNG through its State Owned company, Kumul Minerals Holdings to build and operate the Gold Refinery, Gold Mint and Gold Bank? If not then why not?    “Alternatively, did the PM and his government approach the existing Mining companies operating in our country and our citizens who are involved in gold trade to build and operate Gold Refinery and Gold Mint in PNG?” 


 Mr Namah also queried if the government considered putting the project on open tender to attract investors with vast experience in running and operating a refinery.    “Why the monopoly or exclusivity for 75-years with an option to extend for a further 25 years?    “That is absolute monopoly for 100 years.    “This is like two life-times. Mr Speaker, this contradicts Prime Minister’s own “Take Back PNG” Policy.    “We have sold our country.    “Why was the Project Agreement signed in the absence of the Legislation on the Gold Refinery and Gold Mint project in PNG?.”   

 Mr Namah also informed the government and the investor Refinery Holdings Pte Ltd Singapore and the house he has instructed his lawyers to file a Judicial Review Application in the Supreme Court.    “I am also putting on notice all the proponents in this Gold Refinery and Gold Mint project Agreement that the new government after 2022 National General Election will review this agreement with the aim to repeal it because it is not done in National Interest,” he said.

source: The Post Courier / Pacific Mining Watch

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