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Thursday, June 14, 2012

PNG government must not pay 30% equity to Nautilus Minerals Ltd.

Wenceslaus Magun, national coordinator for a local not-for-profit group, Mas Kagin Tapani Association (Makata), is calling for Nautilus Mineral Ltd to stop exploiting the pristine Solwara 1 marine resources in the Bismarck Solomon Seas with its experimental seabed mining.

Mr Magun said, “Nautilus’s chief executive officer, Stephen Rogers, is calling on the PNG government through its State-owned enterprise, Petromin to meet ongoing project costs on a pro-rata basis. The costs are for the grant of the 20-year mining lease in January 2011 amounting to US$47 million. The PNG government should not adhere to this request.”

“There is no justification for the PNG government to pay 30% to Nautilus. This foreign-owned corporation does not own the resources by birth right. They cannot ask the PNG government to make such a contribution to help develop their experimental seabed mining project.”  

“By doing so, would imply that Papua New Guineans will remain beggars on our own land:  that we cannot determine our own destiny but allow outsiders, particularly the multi-billion dollar corporate industries, to dictate our future,” warned Mr. Magun.

Many Papua New Guineans have voiced their concerns that the PNG government has for decades failed to honor the goals enshrined in the preamble of our constitution which calls for equitable distribution and PNG ways and self-reliance. (The National Goal and Directive Principle No.2 and 3 respectively)

Mr Magun said, “Such actions indicate that the PNG government does not remain loyal to protecting and sustainably managing its resources enshrined in our constitution and related documents including Vision 2050. It goes further to show that the PNG government does not care about its own people.” 

“The PNG government should have never given away the exploration license to Nautilus at such an insignificant fee. The fee was for no more than K10,000 and then they granted the company a 20-year mining lease license and to buy back that same property for a 30% equity or equating to K300 million.”

“The PNG government issued the license to Nautilus based on a flawed Environmental Impact Assessment and without ensuring that there were good marine laws in place. This is both unethical and morally wrong.”

“By honoring Nautilus’s request to pay 30% equity to mine the sea floors at Solwara 1, the PNG government will further alienate and disenfranchise its own people.”

He cautioned that such ludicrous decisions will continue to push PNG a rich nation further into the bracket of some of the least developing nations in the world and put the very survival of the Papua New Guinean people at peril.

“Why should Papua New Guineans be made to be spectators in our own land? Why is our government hell bent to make hasty decisions based on weak policies at the expense of the silent majority?  Why should our government make us losers in our own land when we do not choose to? This is absurd!”

“Current mining and petroleum developments in PNG indicate that our country will only get one third of the benefits obtained from our natural resources whilst the developer will leave the country with two-thirds, leaving our resources depleted, devastated, and doomed,” argued Mr. Magun.

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