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Sand mining proposal defeated

Act say noNEWS DESK
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PORT MORESBY - A controversial plan by the Singapore based Powerplus Group to mine sand along a 38 kilometre stretch of coastline in Madang has been defeated.

The government regulator, the Mineral Resource Authority (MRA), has written to mining opponents informing them of the withdrawal of the mine exploration application.

This comes after the application met with strong opposition from local communities and environmentalists and concern from tourism operators.

Local people accused the MRA of having been co-opted by the mining company and hurriedly forcing through a consultation process without allowing local communities to have their voices heard.

Communities were worried they would have to relocate their homes and lose valuable fishing rights which they rely on for food and income.

There were also fears for the endangered leatherback turtles that nest along the coastline and the future of the Karkum Conservation Area.

Community opposition to the mining plan and the potential impacts gained national and international media attention.

The background of the company and business people involved were the focus of two investigative reports by the anti-corruption initiative PNGi.

Locals were also supported by former chief justice and politician Sir Arnold Amet, who is from Madang.

Amet had promised to support court action to challenge the MRA approval process.

According to the MRA, the amount of negative publicity generated by the mining proposal “caused the parent company to review its position” and withdraw its application.


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