Landowners Block access to Hidden Valley Mine in PNG

 FRUSTRATED landowners at Hidden Valley mine in Bulolo, Morobe , Papua New Guinea (PNG) say they have blocked off the main access road into the mine site over non-payment of royalties.

A spokesman said on Friday that landowners from the three impacted villages of Nauti, Kuembu and Winima mobilised and locked the gate at Manki Tower.

Landowners claimed they had not received their royalties for the last three months and the Future Generation Funds (FGF) for the last 17 years.

FGF, as per the 2005 memorandum of agreement, between the mine and landowners is a trust fund which will provide for the education of children from the three villages.

Earlier last month, the Nakuwi association which represents the landowner groups, went on record to state that developer Harmony Gold through its subsidiary Morobe Consolidated Goldfields was yet to release over K1 million belonging to this trust fund, as authorised by the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).

According to the spokesman, this long wait had frustrated the landowners leading to the blockade on Friday.

While court proceedings against the developer for allegedly withholding FGF payments have started, landowners are demanding an explanation for the non-payment of royalty since January this year.

The landowners are expected to present a signed petition containing their concerns and demands to Harmony, Mineral Resources Authority, the landowner association and Morobe government. When contacted for comment, the company said it would release a statement.

The National / Pacific Mining Watch 

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