Federation Opposes Development of New Mines without Amendments to Laws.
The Resource Owners Federation of PNG Inc. acknowledges the government’s desire to open new mines in the country as expressed by the Minister for Mining Hon. Johnson Tuke, in the National Newspaper on 22nd November, 2017.
However, the Resource Owners Federation says that the Customary Landowners of Papua New Guinea will oppose the development of any new mining projects without amending the Mining Act 1992 and the Mineral Resource Authority Act of 2005. The reasons are:
. The Mining Act 1992 must be amended to be compliant with the Constitution and the customary laws of Papua New Guinea, which both vest the ownership of all lands and minerals contained therein by those who own the lands. The amended Mining Act must therefore ensure that the landowners receive a fair share of the profits from any mining project.
In the past, the mining companies have deceived the landowners and the National government into believing that their entitlements from the mining projects, such as contracts, compensation payments, royalties, taxes, levies and so on, were benefits, when in fact, an entitlement in the English language is nota benefit. The dictionary of English, states that a Benefit is a Profit. The same dictionary states that an Entitlement is; having a right to something.Entitlements are therefore not Benefits, as we have been led to believe for so long by the Mining companies.
. The Federation also continues to support many calls for the removal of the representatives of the PNG Chamber of Mining & Petroleum and the PNG Business Council from the board of the Minerals Resources Authority (MRA), because of their inherent conflict of interest. MRA is the regulator of PNG’s Mining laws and Regulations and the Chamber of Mining & Petroleum and the PNG Business Council are representative bodies of the Mining Industry, the subject of the Mining Laws administered by the MRA. It is therefore inappropriate for those that are being regulated to be on the board of the Regulator. There have been many calls and complaints from the public both nationally and internationally about this corruption, yet the National government has not yet amended the laws to remove the two organisations from the Board of MRA. MRA will therefore continue to be seen as a non-independent institution of the State. The industry representatives continued presence in the board of the MRA will create an appearance of impropriety, in relation to the decisions of the Regulator, consequently undermining the public confidence in MRA.