Substantive issues concerning benefits for water resource owners of Lihir Island, in In New Ireland Province, have been taken into account by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority.
A technical team, under the direction from the Environment and Conservation Minister, met with resource owners and identified ways to manage or share benefits.
These are the resource owners of the traditional Londolovit River, where Newcrest Mining, operator of the Lihir Gold Limited, extracts its water from for its operations.
In the meeting, it was pointed out, since 1997, when the mine first began operating, benefits haven’t been properly shared.
Water and gold are two different resources. Under existing benefit sharing arrangements, such as the Integrated Benefits Package, only ‘gold’ resource owners through Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association, tend to enjoy all benefits.
LSA Chairperson, Roselyne Arau wants the state to intervene.
“State has to intervene and impose on the LGL to review its decision why it refused to become a party, to the new proposed water agreement by LSA Londolovit,” she said.
Their secretary Rose Kare wants this matter solved.
“We the community want peace, we want this issue be solved,” she said.
Benjamin Passingan who is the Principal Legal Officer for CEPA said that this matter is something required for consideration by the state.
“Issues raised are substantial which the state needs to find answers to,” he said.
Team leader and the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority, Deputy Managing Director, Dilu Muguwa, was sympathetic with grievances raised by water supplying and other impacted communities.
“We have heard from you, your concerns, we will submit the report to the minister responsible and he will deliberate,” he said.
On October 24, a State team, comprising officers from the Mineral Resources Authority, CEPA, State Solicitors Office, Prime Minister’s Department and National Executive Council will meet with the resource owners.