January 19, 2012

Papua New Guinea Mine Watch: Tikana Namosi Landowners Committee tells Newcrest ‘no mining on our land’

JANUARY 18, 2012


“THANK GOD MEN CANNOT FLY, AND LAY WASTE THE SKY AS WELL AS THE EARTH.”  ~HENRY DAVID THOREAU


Formation
The formation of the Tikana Namosi Landowners Committee (TNLC) in 2009 eventuated as a result of the landowner’s frustration in the manner in which our previous landowner’s committee and Newcrest were colluding to ensure that prospecting works were conducted unhindered on our land. It was formed to ensure that landowner’s rights are respected, that developments on our land are sustainable in nature and importantly to ensure that our prestigious environment be preserved as has been by our fore fathers.


Concerns
The Issue of the Prospecting License (SPL 1420) was done without our knowledge and consent and is seen to be one of the main causes of the recurring differences between Newcrest and landowners.


In addition, unresolved grievances and the unethical approach by Newcrest over the years has been a major concern for landowners especially since work is still in the prospecting stage and therefore gives us great concern should the mining license be granted.


Misinformation is a common strategy used not only to mislead the landowners but most recently the Fiji Public as evident in its newsletters, media releases and project information pamphlets.


We are deeply concerned about the repercussion of this works to those villagers living downstream in the provinces of Naitasiri, Tailevu and Rewa.


We are also concerned with the manner in which Newcrest is advocating the EIA when in fact most of environmental impacts of their prospecting works in Namosi remains unresolved and is still a major concern for landowners. It seems like the EIA is the solution to all queries raised by landowners and we have been informed to await its outcome.


We have seen and experienced the impacts of prospecting works on our land for over 40 years and we feel that it is enough for us in terms of the environmental and social impacts on our people whatever the EIA outcome might be.


Costs and Benefits
We acknowledge the benefits received so far in terms of Employment opportunities, Education assistance, Community assistance etc and we understand its benefit to Fiji if the project is approved. On the contrary, we value our environment and our future generation more than the current and future benefits from this project.


Involvement of NGOs
We wish to clearly state that the involvement of NGOs is in no way related to our objective in our initial formation that there be no mining on our land. It is an insult to landowners that NGOs be implicated to be responsible for our actions with regards to opposition to the project on environmental grounds.  It is our land and we are very much capable of speaking for ourselves, we the landowners are very much responsible for our actions and Newcrest should be bold enough to face us and our grievances rather than diverting the attention from the real issue.


In fact we had been requesting for more than two years that there be awareness on the impacts of mining as Newcrest is only informing the people of the benefits of mining but this did not eventuate. Thus, the decision to seek assistance from NGOs to enlighten the people on the impacts of mining, they were also requested to provide current updates on the impacts of mining from all over the world and our pacific neighbors as well.


Decision
We have reached a stage where we are so frustrated with NJV and its activities on our land and we have come to a decision to let our intentions known to the whole of Fiji and the rest of the world in that we do not want our land to be mined. Our decision today is based on our experience of over 40 years of exploration on our land and also taking into consideration the plight of our relatives in the provinces of Naitasiri, Tailevu and Rewa who will be affected by whatever decision we make today.


We will be seeking an audience with the Honorable Prime Minister to voice our grievances and the decision we’ve reached communally and we also extend our invitation to interested parties and individuals and all those who are not landowners but will be directly affected by this project to accompany us on the day.


“WE ABUSE LAND BECAUSE WE REGARD IT AS A COMMODITY BELONGING TO US.  WHEN WE SEE LAND AS A COMMUNITY TO WHICH WE BELONG, WE MAY BEGIN TO USE IT WITH LOVE AND RESPECT.”  ~ALDO LEOPOLD.

1 comment:

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Papua New Guinea