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Landowners Seek Court Order Against Hidden Valley

Landowners of Hidden Valley Mine in Bulolo, have applied for a court order to halt the extension of the existing mining lease for another five years.

Chairman of Nakuwi Landowner Association, Rex Maori, said there will be no extension until the new Memorandum of Agreement is reviewed and signed.

The signatories to the MOA are the landowners, the provincial government, the national government and the developer.

The landowners of the Hidden Valley Mine held a media conference in Bulolo at the beginning of this month,  to air out their frustrations over the government’s  delay to review and sign a 2014 memorandum of agreement.

Their concerns were sparked by Morobe Consolidation Goldfield Limited’s lodgment to the Mineral Resources Authority to extend the term of the mining lease for five years, beyond its expiry date in March 2025.

Chairman Rex Maori said the  MOA was to be reviewed in 2012 and two years after, but that has not eventuated to date.

Mr Maori said the landowners have applied for a court order to halt the extension until the issue with the MOA is sorted.

According to Mr Moari this  year is supposed to be the fourth term of review, as stipulated in the initial MOA of 2012, which indicates a review every two years.

He claims the landowners had had discussions with stakeholders in 2014 for this review and the MOA was put forward for signing, however that has not eventuated.

The landowners say they have nothing against the company’s move for the five-year extension, however, want a new MOA so benefits go down to the landowners.

Meanwhile, Bulolo MP Sam Basil said the matter is out of his hand as the District Development Authority is not a party in the MOA, however he is willing to work with the landowners to see where the hold is.

Mr Maori said the landowners hope to obtain the court order by tomorrow at the latest.

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