By GLORIA BAUAI
THE recent approval of the Tolokuma MoA by the National Executive Council (NEC) has not gone down well with a resource association that represents those affected by the Tolokuma Gold Mine operations in the Goilala and Mekeo area.
Auga Dilava Resource Association is disappointed that the people of Goilala in the Woitape LLG; Wards 3, 4 and 5 were not properly represented and included in the revised MoA despite reports in the media last week that all stakeholders had agreed.
The association’s executive officer Benjamin Uvi explains that Auga-Dilava has been fighting for the affected landowners rights in regards to environmental damages since 2010 with no help from any government authority, and this news on the approval is a slap in the face.
He says there’s a total of 13 gold reserves in Goilala that are currently under exploration and Petromin has not consulted with landowners in this area. Instead, it seems the agreement has been revised only with representatives of the Mekeo area, who are not the only affected.
“We are very upset that NEC has gone ahead to approve this….they’re talking about IDC, two per cent of stakeholders…this is not clear with us. They need to talk to us in regards to this MOA, how they approved it, in what kind of way and what is the benefit.
“If we cannot fit into the MOA, what about going to an MOU, so that the MOU can make some understanding that we have some benefit that is tied to the group. We would like things to be done in a proper way so that proper agreements with proper parties are included,” said Uvi.
The association whose membership comprises of landowners and villagers from Goilala, Woitape LLG down to Mekeo, is calling on Government to consider their request on a Memorandum of Understanding as per advice of the Mineral Resource Association (MRA).