The Tolukuma (Yulai) Landowner Group representing landowners of the Tolukuma Gold Mine refused to sign the revised Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in Port Moresby today.

Chairman George Gusi snubbed the long overdue revised MOA, claiming there are still outstanding issues to be settled.

Facilitated by the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), the signing ceremony was attended by Mining Minister Byron Chan, Central Province Governor, Kila Haoda, Executive Director of Asidokona, Vincent Siou, Woitape LLG President Joe Geru, and MRA Managing Director, Phillip Samar.

Speaking at the ceremony, Gusi asked for an extension to iron out outstanding issues which they want to see contained in the current MOA as he claims there was a lack of consultation by the MRA.

He said some of the outstanding issues include:

Establishment of the Infrastructure Development Committee;
Environmental damage report on the waterway and tailings dam, which is a national issue on the reputation of the mine;
No proper mine development plan showing the lifespan and economic value of the mine; and
No proper landowner business plan under the spin off benefits and life after mine programs.

Gusi also asked why there was a rush to sign the MOA on the eve of the elections, questioning the legal basis justifying Minister Chan and Governor Haoda to proceed as signatories.

“We are confused as to why we are rushing to sign. I strongly recommend that we defer the MOA signing till after the return of writs. It’s only five weeks away,” he said.

“So after the elections, we have a legitimate Government and authority to execute our MOA.

“Ladies and gentlemen, both national and provincial governments have totally failed to implement many undertakings in the previous MOA.”

Despite his refusal, the signing ceremony went ahead with all parties content with the MOA. Gusi maintained his stance and did not sign.

Following the singing, Minister Chan said the previous MOA did not contain any Government commitment, however, the revised agreement contained guarantees which the government was willing to deliver.

They include, among others, the Tolukuma Highway upgrade project.

Chan said he would not have proceeded with any signing if he knew there were still outstanding issues.

However, he said the revision of the MOA was an ongoing thing and any outstanding issue would be catered for down the track.

“Whatever we sign today, it’s continuous, it’s a Government commitment to the people of Central Province, Goilala District and to your people. It is our commitment,” he said.

“This Government has committed all of these projects to you as of today.”

Meanwhile, Bonnie Gelu, from the State Solicitors office, who was present informed landowners and guests that Minister Chan and Governor Haoda, as signatories to the MOA, are acting within the legal parameters as they are still recognized as elected leaders until the return of writs.

Picture: Signatories to the revised Tolukuma MOA having a toast while Yulai Landowner Association Chairman, George Gusi, shows disinterest.

Author: Cedric Patjole, LOOPPNG


October 15,2015, 11:47 pm

A vocal landowner association in the Goilala District has expressed concern on the recent transaction which will lead to the reopening of the Tolukuma Gold Mine.

Auga-Dilava Resource Association has been a mouth piece for local communities in the Goilala, Kuni and Mekeo areas affected by mining activities of Tolukuma.

The association has been pushing for the state to address long outstanding environmental and other mine related issues.

Representing the association and the people once more, chairman Billy Aia, this time has questioned about this new operator – Asidokona Mining Resources PTE LTD.

Mr Aia said the announcement of the “Formal Exchange Sale Share Agreement” regarding TGM, has come as upsetting news.

In a letter written for government bodies, the association said: “Petromin has failed to introduce to the affected people in Goilala, Kuni and Mekeo and the rest of PNG the strange Singaporean Firm with Local Motu Language name Asidokona.

“Where on the planet earth has this company conducted and operated a mine or has managed mining operations?”

While they are calling for an intervention, similar concerns in this regard have been raised by Social Media activist and blogger, Anthony Morant and another Papua New Guinean, also well versed with TGM.

“It is interesting to hear from the Mining Minister Byron Chan how he hails the TGM buyer Asidokona as ‘reputable with integrity’.

“Can he substantiate what he terms as reputable to ‘Asidokona when in actual fact, Asidokona has allegedly existed for three months after it was registered in Singapore?

They are also calling on those involved in selling TGM to come out clear on the truth about who actually owns TGM.

Despite these concerns, pioneer chairman of the Yulai Landowners Association, Fabianne Aia, on behalf of the landowners, said they’ve accepted the announcement of the takeover by Asidokona.

“We don’t know the history behind Asidokona, but we are not against it, so long as the company fulfills the requirements in the MoA, including the road development,” he said.