1 Jul 2009

PNG landowners upset at Hidden Valley mine over spinoffs

11:05 am on 1 July 2009

The leader of a Papua New Guinea landowners collective has warned the operators of the Hidden Valley gold mine in Morobe province that their staff could be shot at if the local people aren't included in spinoff activities.

The president of the Nakuwi Landowners Association, Rex Mauri, says his people have been left out of a whole range of economic and other activities related to the Morobe Mining Joint Venture despite, provisions for inclusion in the agreements signed with the developer..

The majority owner South Africa-based Harmony Gold and its Australian partner New Crest are also under pressure from local level government demanding a halt to the project until environmental and health concerns over the mine are addressed.

With production set to commence at Hidden Valley, Rex Mauri says they want development brought back to Wau township.

"So the MOA says that the whole spinoff of the business, we'll give the first priority to the landowners which we haven't seen at the moment today. That's the reason why I'm going to shoot them. I'm ready to shoot them but they need to come out very clearly to us and tell us why they haven't do that, why they not comply with the MOA."

Rex Mauri.