No rush on PNG's Wafi-Golpu Mine Project, says PM Marape

 TALKS between the Papua New Guinea Government and stakeholders to get the US$5.4 billion (about K18.5 billion) Wafi-Golpu Mining project off the ground have been stalled again, but  the country's Prime Minister James Marape says “we are not in a rush”.

The next round of talks will be held in Lae on April 27, to resolve the remaining major issue of the mine waste disposal system.

No rush on PNG's Wafi-Golpu Mine Project, say  PM Marape  [ Photo source : EMTV]

Morobe prefers the terrestrial waste dam while the Government favours the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP).

Marape told the people in Lae yesterday: “We understand your concerns of DSTP and better benefit requirement of locals. We are not in a rush.

“We’ll go through that until every party at the table is satisfied and their concerns have been heard,” he said.

“These matters are not easy for a quick-fix solution.

“It’s a serious matter and needs a lot of time for us to secure a deal (that) is good for everyone.”

The development forum on April 27 will be attended by professionals and stakeholders from the private sector and the Government, provincial representatives and landowners.

Marape said the forum would be “as long as it takes because Wafi-Golpu is not a lightweight issue”.

He said talks would continue “for as long as it takes until a win-win consensus is reached”.

Marape was in Lae yesterday to receive the province’s position paper on the mine.

Marape apologised to the developers for the delay but said that it would be beneficial in the long run, as it ensured that all parties’ concerns were considered before signing the deal.

He had said last month before leaving for Australia that Cabinet was going to make an announcement on Wafi-Golpu project in Morobe.

He tasked his deputy Sam Basil to work with Mining Minister Johnson Tuke and the State Negotiation Team to bring Wafi-Golpu negotiations to a close before the Government could sign an agreement with the developers Harmony Gold Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd.

Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu yesterday said while the province wanted the project to start, they needed to sort out the mine waste disposal system issue first.

He said Morobe could make an exception for Wafi-Golpu to use the DSTP “but with very strict and specific conditions”.

He said the province was still against DSTP.

But after a three-month consultation with affected landowners, they resolved that should the Government and developer insisted on using DSTP, then certain conditions must apply, he said.

“The mine tailings pipeline will run from the mine site to Salamaua and to Morobe Patrol Post Coastline 50km into the ocean as an improvement to the current plan,” he said.

Saonu also urged the State and developer to review the environment permit issued to the company.

The National / Pacific Mining Watch

Next : K92 MINING Inc in PNG records cash balance of US$71 million

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