In Port Moresby recently, the Papua New Guinean Government handed over a Special Purpose Lease (SPL) to Lihir Gold Limited (LGL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Newcrest. The granting of the lease allows LGL to further develop the Londolovit Township, located on Lihir Island.

Mr John Rosso, the Minister for the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, handed over the SPL to LGL and said, “On behalf of the Department, I thank Newcrest Lihir and key Lihir stakeholders for seeking our assistance with the consolidation and grant of the SPL for Portion 1021.”

The granting of the SPL is the first phase of an ongoing project that, once complete, will provide a sustainable future for people on Lihir after the mine closes.

“Newcrest Lihir is the first mining project in the country to have considered planning and developing a town with post-mine closure in mind; I commend Newcrest for taking this approach.”

Newcrest Lihir began the project after first consulting with key stakeholders in the Lihir community. Part of the process involved converting two agricultural Leases held by LGL to the consolidated SPL.

The first subdivision of the Special Purpose Lease will develop around 100 state leases to be granted to Kapit families affected by the mine and associated activities. The second subdivision will advance the Londolovit Township further to help boost economic growth.

“I am delighted that Newcrest is committed to utilising the state lease to achieve these outcomes. DLPP committed to delivering the consolidated title to you (Newcrest), and we are proud to have delivered on our commitment. We will continue to support you at every stage of the project,” Mr Rosso said.

The minister urged the local Lihir people to support the project. In addition, he encouraged technical teams within his Department of Lands and Physical Planning (DLPP) to engage with and develop long-term partnerships with stakeholders to the benefit of all concerned.

Rosso said, “Lihirian communities, take ownership of this project and support it because this township (Londolovit) is important for the generations of Lihirians yet to come.”

Newcrest Lihir is also preparing to proceed with other phases in the project, such as town planning and surveying. It will work in partnership with the DLPP, the Nimamar Local Level Government (NLLG), and other stakeholders.

Mr Johan Labuschagne, the Newcrest Lihir General Manager, received the SPL on behalf of the company. He thanked Minister Rosso, his team, and other key stakeholders for their collaboration on the project.

Mr Labuschagne said, “We are delighted as a company and the first mining project to achieve this outcome as it sets the trend for future projects. Owning this Special Purpose Lease is a unique situation in PNG. We are fully committed to creating a sustainable and positive legacy through this lease.

“We look forward to working together with all stakeholders to ensure Londolovit Township becomes a prosperous town, supporting our mining operation now and post-life of mine.”

The Deputy President of the NLLG, Mr Sebastian Siadodoh, congratulated and commended Newcrest Lihir on the project. He said, “This project aligns with the development aspiration of the people we serve – traditional landowners, affected mining resettlement landowners, and over 25 000 people who live, invest and work in Lihir. Our Kapit people will also now have security of tenure, bringing them together to settle as a community on state land.”

Image credit Newcrest Mining