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'I feel deceived by Morobe Mining': Basil


On the river LANDOWNERS LIVING along the Watut River have filed a legal action seeking compensation for pollution caused by heavy metals and sediments from the Hidden Valley gold mine.

The legal papers were filed yesterday by lawyers acting for 110 landowners.

The landowners are seeking compensation from the Hidden Valley mine operator, Morobe Mining, jointly owned by Harmony Gold and Newcrest Mining.

Morobe Mining and I made a joint announcement last week that the company was setting up an expert technical advisory panel to review sediment and pollution issues affecting the Watut River.

In return, I agreed to delay issuing legal proceedings to see if the issues could be settled cooperatively without involving the courts.

But, in breach of that agreement, Morobe Mining has been attempting to buy off the potential plaintiffs with payments of K1,200 compensation for each plaintiff.

I feel completely deceived. I have tried to negotiate in good faith with the mining company even though they have been covering up the pollution problem for over a year.

As a result of the discussions, I thought we had established a clear road-map to resolve the pollution issues and I was prepared to trust their word.

Instead the miners have gone behind my back and tried to buy-off the landowners.

I am disgusted by the two-faced behaviour and therefore the legal action has been filed.

Sam Basil is the Member for Bulolo in the PNG Parliament


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Bernard Sinai

Nearly every country in the world that has invested in mining, especially third world countries, has had all sorts of issues with mining companies.

Until our government steps up and sets the standards, mining companies will always put profit ahead of everything else.

Barbara Short

Sorry to hear that there are still worries.

As Hidden Valley is partly owned by Newcrest, I suggest you remind them that you want PNG standards to be just as high as the standards at the Cadia gold and copper mine near Orange NSW, run by Newcrest which prides itself on very high standards.

Newcrest musn't think it can have one set of standards for Australia and another for PNG.

Paul Oates

Well done, Sam Basil MP. History will record you as one of the few leading PNG politicians who have consistently made a stand for the sake of your people.

You have spoken out both in Parliament and outside on many important issues including:

- the Ramu mine deep sea tailing disposal,

- the Maladina Amendment, accepting the petition when the Prime Minister wouldn't,

- been threatened with violence by the PM,

- worked hard to resolve the problems in your area left over from past decides of gold mining

- taken a public stand against the recent 52% increase in PNG politician's salaries.

What a pity regionalism may be currently holding back your rise to a higher office?

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