MINERAL Resources Authority (MRA) managing director, Jerry Garry, has congratulated stakeholders of the Lihir Mine Compensation and Relocation Agreement (CRA) negotiations, for successfully completing 99% of the CRA process with Newcrest Lihir Gold Mining Limited (LGL).

Mr Garry was on Lihir on a mine site visit and to meet LGL executives when he spoke to the stakeholders.

The MD particularly thanked LGL for being a responsible corporate citizen of Papua New Guinea by genuinely committing itself to working with all stakeholders on the three year lengthy CRA process. He said landowners are a very important stakeholder group in all mining projects in the country.

“We must accord them due recognition in return for their land. I urge LGL and other operators in the country to do more for landowners where possible,” said Mr Garry.

The MD said the MRA would support mining companies that play their part in ensuring landowners are given avenues and opportunities to benefit out of their land, in a manner that is fair, equitable and sustainable.

The LGL’s head of Business Services Felix Tavil, said the company was responsible to its landowners as a party to the CRA process.

He said it was important to note that the CRA process is a state sanctioned process permitted under the Mining Act 1992, which requires the company to negotiate compensation directly with landowners unlike in the past, where a third party negotiated on behalf of the landowners which resulted in benefits not reaching the landowners.

The parties to the CRA negotiations are the LGL, Nimamar Local Level Government, the Lihir United and Catholic Churches, and 8 tenement landowner groups and five relocated villages which are:

  1. Putput plant site
2. Kapit pit and stockpile 3. Landolam pit
4. Kunaye Airpot
5. Londolovit Weir
6. Londolovit Quarry
  2. Lakunbut Dam
  3. Lakunbut relocation family group
  4. Kapit relocation family group
  5. Mining Easement
11. Putput relocation family group
12. Landolam Relocation family group
13. Londolovit Weri relocation family group

All these parties have agreed (in principle) with LGL on the amount of money to be paid to them as compensation, except the Nimamar LLG.

The LLG is the only stakeholder that is yet to agree with LGL on their package. It is hoped LGL and the LLG will sort out their issues this week.

The drafts of the agreements will be delivered to the Chief Mining Warden of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) for verification against the Mining Act 1992 before a formal signing ceremony can take place.

Under the revised negotiations, a total of K54 million per annum is anticipated to be paid to all stakeholders. This amount will increase every year by five percent on base amounts to compensate for Consumer Price Index (CPI) movements.