Mining Royalty Debate Sparks War of Words

A war of words has erupted between a Morobe landowner representative andthe Belolo MP Sam Besil overthe distribution of mine royalties.


Speaking in Lae overthe weekend, landowner Rex Mauri, accused Sam Besil of interfering withthe distribution of royalties by seeking to have a portion ofthe money channeled tothe district.

Currently, 2 percent of mine revenue is paid directly to landowners and local level governments.


The landowner chairman, Rex Mauri saysthe current arrangement where royalties go tothe landowners andthe LLG’s is working just fine.


Rex Mauri accusedthe Belolo MP of spending money in his own LLG area, and also trying to take control of royalty funding.


Sam Besil seesthe issue very differently. He saysthe landowners andthe government are fighting over scraps. And, by that he means by two percent in royalties.


He saysthe current arrangements are unfair. And, also with changes tothe Mineral Resources Authority Act set to come into effect soon, some local level government areas will lose out including people alongthe highway and river communities.


“We need that 18 per cent…I know that in ther mines inthe country,the local district never got anything back;therefore,the district never develop,” he said.

Sam Besil says ifthe unfair arrangements continue,they’ll forcethe mine to close.


And, Rex Marui says he’ll getthe police to have Sam Besil arrested.


The opposition meanwhile will be pushing for new amendments to laws governing resource ownership. They are leaning towards a five per cent ownership of current mines, and a ten per cent stake for all new mines.

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