16 Oct 2008

PNG Foreign Affairs Secretary denies Chinese Ramu workers given entry exemptions

7:39 pm on 16 October 2008

Papua New Guinea's Foreign Affairs Secretary says there have been no exemptions granted to Chinese workers coming into PNG to work at the massive Ramu nickel project in Madang.

Gabriel Pepson's comment follows reports in local media that the workers are entering without proper security, customs and immigration checks.

The reports stem from claims by PNG's National Intelligence Organisation that the government had exempted the workers, mainly Chinese engineers, from the checks on a regular basis.

The company, Ramu NiCo, denies the claims and says it has always complied with PNG's laws.

Mr Pepson says all the required checks on the workers are carried out in China before they leave for PNG.

"There's been a lot of talk about workers who come for the Ramu nickel project, and you know they go through the normal proper checks before they come so that is not the big deal as we are aware. They're coming for a particular project and it's done by the company and they get their visas and that sort of thing."

Gabriel Pepson