11 Nov 2008

Talks over work permit issues continue between RamuNico and PNG govt

11:37 am on 11 November 2008

Talks over work permit issues between Papua New Guinea's department of Labour and Employment and the Chinese company building the Ramu nickel mine continued in Port Moresby yesterday.

Labour officials are looking at the paperwork of around 150 Chinese workers who were arrested in last week's raids at the Ramu project in Madang province by PNG police and immigration officials.

The Chinese Government-linked company operating the project, RamuNico, says it's been waiting, in some cases for over a year, for more than 200 work permits to be processed.

A spokesman for RamuNico, Frank Mills, says irregularities in some workers' permits reflect the need for government agencies to speed up the vetting process.

"At the very highest level, the project has visited PNG and on Friday instituted talks with the Department of Labour and Employment at the senior bureaucrat level. It also did involve a conversation with the Minister for Labour and Employment. But it has now been left to the officials. It commenced on Friday and are continuing today. This will probably resolve the matter."

Frank Mills