Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ramu NiCo to go ahead with pipeline

WITH the court victory last week under its belt, Ramu NiCo is going ahead with the construction of the pipeline through which it hopes tailings or waste from the Ramu nickel mine will flow into the sea.
Ramu NiCo, or MCC, is developing the mine.
Its plan to have the mine up and running by the end of the year has been stalled because of the legal action by villagers over environmental concerns.
After months of court ordered stop work on the pipeline construction, the National Court last week allowed the company to go ahead with it.
The company, however, is not allowed to dump any mine waste into the sea until the substantive case is determined.
The plaintiff villagers are seeking in the substantive case to permanently prevent the dumping of waste from the mine into the sea.
They said that the waste dumping was not provided for in law, and would cause huge environmental damage.
But by going ahead with the pipeline construction while the case is pending, Ramu NiCo is taking a gamble.
They are going to spend a lot of money building a 400m pipeline they may end of not using, if the villagers win the case.
The villagers and their lawyers feel they have a strong case for success.
“The fact of the matter is there is little environmental damage caused by building the 400m long pipeline,” lawyer Tiffany Nonggorr said this week in an email note to journalists.
“We say that the dumping of five million tonnes annually of mine waste at a depth of 150m, only 400m from shore, will cause massive and irreparable environmental harm.
“We have not alleged anywhere that the building of the pipeline itself will cause harm. It is also specifically approved in the permit.
“We don’t have a legal basis for stopping them building it but we had asked the court to stop the construction so MCC would suffer less loss if we won, but MCC seem to want to take the risk of a loss if they are permanently banned from dumping into the sea,” she added.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marengo proud of active ops in PNG

By SINCLAIRE SOLOMON, The National
Marengo Mining is proud to be an international corporation with an active presence in Papua New Guinea, its chairman John Horan said in the company’s 2010 annual report.
“We are operating in a country which has a thriving mining and exploration industry and a pro-mining environment,” he said of the Western Australian company which is developing the Yandera copper-molybdenum-gold project in the Bundi region of Madang.
Horan said the company was committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment.
“It is also committed to maintaining the excellent relationships established with the communities at and around Yandera, with other communities and with government authorities.
“At all times we aim to continue to operate in accordance with world class environmental standards, both on the broad scale and in regard to the environmental well-being of the local communities.”
In the critical area of funding, an equity raising of A$21.7 million was completed in September last year in Canada and Australia.
This saw George Soros’ Quantum Partners LDC join the share register with 19.9% holding.
Marengo’s major shareholder, Sentient Global Fund, also contributed to maintain its 26.65% holding.
Another substantial capital raising, undertaken since the end of the financial year, saw a further A$21.4 million raised.
The company has the ongoing support of Sentient Global Fund and Quantum Partners LDC who have both maintained their percentage holdings, as well as additional support from North American institutional investors.
The funds raised are being directed to the completion of the DFS, and to providing general corporate and working capital.
Since early 2005, Marengo had focused all of its efforts on the Yandera project, Horan said.

PNG seen as biggest tuna processor after ’14

By PEARSON KOLO, The National
PAPUA New Guinea is expected to emerge as the world’s largest tuna processor after 2014.
This would become possible once PNG catches, processes and sells the final product of tuna to the European Union (EU) markets and other markets in the world.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigrations Sam Abal said this last week after returning from Europe where he had a follow up meeting with the European parliamentary committee (EUPC) on international trade in Brussels.
Abal who was accompanied by the Fisheries Minister Ben Semri and senior executives of the National Fisheries Authority said the meeting was in preparation for the EUPC to finalise the interim economic partnership agreement (IEPA) signed in 2007 between PNG and EU.
“Under the IEPA agreement, fish caught anywhere in the world which is processed on shore in PNG can be exported to the European Union duty-free,” Abal explained.
“Other countries supplying fish to the European markets are also pushing for similar preferential market access so it is in PNG’s interest to defend the IEPA for its own fish products.”
Abal said more than US$400 (K1 billion) million had already been committed by potential investors who want to set up fishing and processing industries in the country.
 

Call to work with cops

By PORENI UMAU, Post Courier
RESIDENTS in Madang have been urged to co-operate with police to combat crime and not criticise them.
This message came to the fore after two senior public servants took a swipe at police in Madang citing delay in response to an incident last weekend where 46 vehicles were stoned by drunken youths from Public Tank.
Madang Provincial Police Com-mander Superintendent Anthony Wagambie Jr hit out at the two public servants, after they fronted up at the police station last Saturday evening and complained to the duty officers for not being quick to act.
He said that most of the policemen were attending to a fight at Bogia over the weekend when the incident occurred.
Supt Wagambie said police in Madang were down with manpower and resources including vehicles and fuel. He said police were stretched to the limit where many officers did not change shift but continued when off duty.
He said the public should appreciate that they had their rests while police officers worked from Sunday to Sunday where they had to face welfare problems because their families hardly see them at home.
He said that police were also short of radios and officers on duty had to fork out K50 to K60 every day out from their pockets to buy credits for their mobile phones to do police duties.
Supt Wagambie said policemen had to fight it out in trouble areas and come up without any arrests because leaders were unwilling to give up the trouble makers.
He said that for this reason, people should think first before taking a swipe at police.
He said that his policemen were committed and put their work before family obligations and leaders such as the two senior public servants who live in trouble areas should help police by talking to the youths to leave such misbehaviour.
Supt Wagambie said that community leaders, councilors and mothers should speak out against illegal home brewing and consumption, marijuana abuse, hold ups and petty crimes but instead protect their children.

MP blames government


By RIGGO NANGAN, The National
MARKHAM MP Koni Iguan yesterday blamed the government for the death of prominent evangelist Pastor Joseph Kingal.
Iguan, who appeared upset when he went on Radio Morobe’s Kundu FM yesterday morning, said the relatives of those who have died from accidents occurring at the “death trap” Zumim Bridge in Markham Valley, should sue the government for negligence.
Iguan said he had, on numerous occasions, been calling on the government to redesign the bridge to a safer standard after an increase in accidents and deaths were attributed to its current state.
Two months ago, Iguan, accompanied by Bulolo MP Sam Basil and Tewai-Siassi MP Vincent Michaels, visited the bridge and pleaded with the government to do something.
He said he had brought the matter up in parliament where Works and Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Don Polye gave an assurance that he would “look into it”.
Iguan said at the time of taking the matter up in parliament, the number of deaths stood at 56.
“As I speak now, the number has soared to almost 200,” he said.
“They were told something like this would happen and there was ample time to do something to prevent it, but they failed.”
Iguan said he would file a petition to Polye and give the government 14 days to act, in default, he would mobilise his people and they would block off the road to get attention.
“I am sad over the death of this young spiritual leader.
“Kingal has contributed meaningfully to both the spiritual and economical developments of the country,” he said.

Marengo inks financing deal with China


By PATRICK TALU, The National
MARENGO Mining (MGO), the operator of the Yandera gold, copper and molybdenum project in Madang, has signed a landmark financing and off-take deal with a Chinese construction and engineering group for its 100% owned Yandera project.
In a statement released yesterday, MGO said the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China’s Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction (NFC) was facilitated by Perth-based Arccon WA Pty Ltd (Arccon).
Under the MOU, Marengo has agreed to work exclusively with NFC and Arccon to establish the cost and programme for delivery of the Yandera project in parallel with the completion of the current definitive feasibility study (DFS).
Marengo’s managing director Les Emery said: “This potentially paves the way for formal agreements which will underpin the development of one of the world’s significant new copper projects.”
“While the foundation of the MOU is the construction and engineering contract for the Yandera project, it is important to note that the deal also contemplates NFC facilitating project finance and concentrate off-take for the project, together with potentially investing either in Marengo or the project, or both,” he said.
NFC president Wang Hongqian added: “NFC looks forward to a close and co-operative relationship with Marengo Mining as we work together to lay the foundations for one of the world’s biggest new copper mines in PNG.”
They said the discussions would be conducted to enter into a formal construction agreement (engineering, procurement and construction or EPC contract).
Here, Marengo will appoint NFC as the principal contractor, under a lump-sum turnkey contract, following a detailed evaluation of the project construction costs to be undertaken by NFC as part of the final stage of the DFS.

PNG Mourns

PAPUA NEW Guinea is in mourning over the sudden and tragic loss of evangelist Joseph Kingal.
Kingal, in his early 40s, from Western Highlands, as the head of The Word, The Spirit and The Cross evangelistic ministries based at Omili, Lae, was seen as the flag bearer of hope and redemption in a country racked with social problems.
The graduate accountant-turned preacher and wife, Susan, registered the evangelistic movement as directors in 1996 and went on nationwide crusades wooing in thousands to their nightly sessions.
Their messages, based on the Bible at the week-long crusades, hit a chord with thousands of people at all levels of society.
Many people from the streets and settlements of Lae, Port Moresby, Mt Hagen, Goroka, Madang and Rabaul were shocked upon learning of Kingal’s demise in a nasty traffic accident on a bridge in the Markham Valley, Morobe, while returning from a crusade in Madang.
The influence he wielded was so much so that his death had sparked people into taking up a national government function of building and maintaining infrastructure. People are now trying to set up a fund from donations from the public to make the Zumim bridge safe.
Many callers yesterday were told that Kingal had passed away and that his wife was at the Angau Memorial Hospital requiring life-saving surgery and one of their children was being monitored while in a critical condition.
Outside his ministry at the old Tanubada ice cream factory at Omili, hundreds of mourners and well-wishers tried to gain entry but were prevented.
Members of the ministry had barred the public, only allowing pastors to enter as Kingal’s body lay, having been transferred from Angau Memorial Hospital.
More mourners were flocking in by road from Madang and the highlands provinces of Enga, Southern, Western, Chimbu and Eastern.
Traffic officers at Air Niugini said many more would be travelling in from Port Moresby, Kimbe and Rabaul.
In Port Moresby, a prayer vigil was being held by fellow evangelist Pastor Joseph Walters where hundreds of mourners attended.
Kingal’s death had gripped a nation so much so that public office holders, including Governor-General Sir Paulias Matane and settlement dwellers, were sending in their condolences to the media.
An attempt to blanket news coverage was made by the managing director of Wantok Radiolight, Pawa Warena, who asked not to broadcast “any more stories” about the accident “until advised by the Joseph Kingal Ministry”.
But public demand for details surrounding the death, and of the state of his family members, was overwhelming.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Marengo pleased with drillings

MARENGO Mining has announced significant intersections of copper and molybdenum from its drilling at Yandera, Madang.
Marengo managing director Les Emery announced last Thursday the strong results from within existing resources and extensions to key deposits.
He said in a media statement that they were pleased to report further positive drilling results from their 100%-owned Yandera copper-molybdenum-gold project in the foothills of Bismarck Range.
Emery said drilling within the Yandera central deposit indicated significant intersections of copper and molybdenum sulphides both within the current resource envelops and the extensions of Imbruminda and Dimbi-Gamagu zones (see illustration).
He said in addition, Meringo Mining’s initial four-hole, deep drilling programme continued to produce “positive results”.
Emery said recent drukkubg activities at Yandera had focused on better definition of the mineralised zones at Imbruminda, in addition to a concerted drilling programme to expand the Dimbi-Gamagu zone by following up on the excellent results of a hole (YD245) drilled at the end of the 2009 season.
In addition, the miner was completing an infill drilling programme in the Gremi zone, to elevate a portion of the current resource from an indicated resource to a measured resource category.
He said one hole drilled in Dimbi, as was expected, encountered good grades, including significant molybdenum values.
Emery said: “One of the interesting characteristics of this Dimbi hole is the role played by molybdenum, dominating in most cases over copper. In addition, broad gold intersections are common with grades of up to 0.4g/t Au over a 15mm intersection.”
He said drilling would continue for the rest of the year in this zone, to better define the extent of the Dimbi structure and its control on mineralisation.

Marengo eyes expansion

By SINCLAIRE SOLOMON, The National
MARENGO Mining Ltd has lodged a new exploration application north-east of its Yandera project site in the Finisterre Ranges, Madang (see map), to follow up on stream sediment gold anomalies identified in the recent mining sector support programme funded by the European Union.
Company managing director Les Emery said in a statement yesterday the new application (ELA1851) was  a particularly exciting development for the company as there had been almost no prospecting or geographical mapping work carried out in Finisterre Ranges and accordingly, the mineral potential of this area was unknown.
He said that geologically, it represented a possible strike extension to the Torricelli Mountains between Wewak in East Sepik and Vanimo in West Sepik.
Perth-based Emery, who visited the Yandera copper-molybdenum-gold prospect two weeks ago, also said the Yandera regional activities had progressed well.
He said  that this year’s dry season had allowed Marengo Mining to instigate a reconnaissance stream sediment and geographical mapping survey in EL1665 Koinambe, located northwest of the Yandera central deposit.
Emery said two principal drainages were investigated over a one-month period by a small team comprising one geologist, two field assistants and a community relations officer.
“The local people were very pleased to see the company expanding into their area where various alluvial gold workings are currently exploited by the landowners.
“The results from this work will be available in the first quarter of 2011,” he said.
Marengo Mining is an Australian-based metals company whose core focus is exploring and developing the world-class Yandera project in the highlands of Madang.

Court lifts injunction on controversial DSTP

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
The National Court in Madang last Friday lifted the interim injunction order of March 19 on the construction and operation of the deep sea tailings placements (DSTP) system at Ramu NiCo Basamuk refinery on Rai Coast, Madang.
The 4pm decision followed the morning’s ruling where Justice David Cannings granted leave to the three remaining plaintiffs Eddie Tarsie, Farina Siga and Peter Sel - to withdraw from the proceeding and refused the application by Louis Medaing, a land claimant in Basamuk, to join the proceeding.
Tiffany Nonggorr of Nonggorr William Lawyers on the same day filed a fresh application to challenge the DSTP programme in the name of Medaing against Ramu NiCo, along with a notice of motion seeking another “urgent” interim injunction.
Cannings said the new application would be dealt with on its merits.
Landowners from Basamuk and Rai Coast outside the court house welcomed the decision and thanked Tarsie, Siga and Sel for discontinuing the litigation which had cost Ramu NiCo a lot of money and had severely hampered the multi-billion kina project.
Landowner issues stemming from an inaction by the Lands Titles Commission, divisions among the clans, the question of whether the plaintiffs were intimidated, harassed and threatened or bought off leading to their withdrawal and the subsequent joinder application by Medaing were argued with intensity and at length during the week before Cannings made his ruling.
He said the effect of the interim injunction in March was made for good reasons, as demonstrated by the decisions of the Supreme Court in Ramu NiCo (MCC) Ltd vs Eddie Tarsie SCA 40/2010 on July 16.
“However, at all stages of the proceedings I have emphasised that the court was aware of the impact of its decisions and the court’s desire and the need to have the trial expedited. If Medaing were at this late stage to be joined as a plaintiff there would inevitably be a further delay.
“There would be further uncertainty as to the future of the project.
“There would not be in the public interest nor would it advance the interest of justice.”
Cannings said if Medaing wanted to start fresh proceedings, he was at liberty to do so, giving him seven days.
He ordered that leave was granted to Tarsie, Siga and Sel  to discontinue the proceedings provided that each of them file and serve a notice of discontinuance by today and that all parties bear their own costs of the entire proceedings.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ramu nickel landowner hurls verbal abuse at Madang

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
A DISGRUNTLED landowner from Kurumbukari vented his frustration at the outcome of the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system hearing by hurling threats and challenges aimed at the lone plaintiff outside the National Court House gates in Madang yesterday afternoon.
Chairman of Kurumbukari Landowners Association David Tigavu and his supporters started their verbal challenges once outside the courtroom door.
The morning session, similar to Wednesday’s proceedings, had both the plaintiffs’ counsel and the defence counsel still arguing about the question of whether Louie Medaing’s application should be allowed before the court as proper thereby being a plaintiff in the proceedings continuing or not.
Judge David Cannings reserved his decision to 2pm and then further adjourning to today.
Tigavu and his supporters had expected a ruling yesterday morning but were frustrated at the adjournment and took out their anger at Medaing.
“If we have to fight over this project, then we will fight and it will be a civil war. Stop hiding inside there and come outside here and we fight,” he said, referring to Medaing.
“We want development and the lawyers keep twisting things,” he said.
Tiffany Nonngorr, representing Medaing, stood at the court’s locked gates with police monitoring the situation outside, listening to the challenge.
Tigavu told her: “You will not bring development to us. You will not feed us. Our children right now are not attending school. Will you support them? We are the least developed place and want development to come. All you care about is money.”
Moreover, he said that Cannings was “sympathetic to you people”.
This comment prompted the court sheriff to warn Tigavu: “Whatever your arguments never bring the name of the judge into it.”
Police then ordered Tigavu and his group to leave.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

DSTP plaintiffs ‘dump’ Nonggorr and want out Nonggorr and want out

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
THE three remaining plaintiffs in the Ramu deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) case have appointed a new counsel and indicted to the National Court in Madang yesterday that they want to discontinue the case against Ramu NiCo, the state and Mineral Resources Authority for the alleged environmental harm.
Eddie Tarsie, Farina Siga and Peter Sel indicated through their lawyer Steven Lawyers that they would file the notice of motion to discontinue and supporting affidavits today.
Tiffany Nonggorr of Nonggorr Williams Associate, the lawyer  who had been representing them in this case, yesterday made an application to join Louis Mediang, a land title claimant from Rai Coast, to the proceedings, insisting in court that the joinder application to be heard immediately. However, lawyers for defendants argued that the court should first establish whether Tarsie, Siga and Sel wanted to proceed with the claims or not. 
The trial was due to start yesterday with a few interlocutory matters to be heard first. Both Ramu NiCo and the state had filed applications in court seeking millions of kina of securities for legal costs and for damages already incurred.
After hearing both sides’ submissions, justice David Cannings adjourned the case to 1.30pm today when he would make a decision on the future of the proceedings. He also ordered Tarsie, Siga and Sel to appear before him.
On Sept 1, two earlier plaintiffs in the case, Sama Melambo and Pommerm ILG, were granted permission to cease litigation proceedings against Ramu NiCO and the state. In his affidavit in support, Melambo criticised the foreign interests operating behind the litigation, saying they were hijacking the agenda through foreign-financed NGO groups like Bismarck Ramu Group.
Melambo explained that his people’s complaints had been mainly with the lack of basic infrastructure and growth opportunities in the Rai Coast region, not about stopping the nickel-cobalt project through the DSTP litigation. 
Nonggorr is also representing two other landowner cases against Ramu NiCo.
Last month, her client Joseph Koroma, a land claimant in the Kurumbukari mine site area in Usino-Bundi district, expressed his dissatisfaction in The National that his lawyer was not acting on instructions and that the Australian anti-mining NGO group Mineral Policy Institute had failed to deliver on promises.
Koroma said the money earmarked for his own case against Ramu NiCo had been used to fight the Basamuk DSTP case which in turn was likely to stop the future of the project and that of all stakeholders.
In court yesterday afternoon, Nonggorr said she had tried in vain to contact her clients but failed.
“I have always had direct access to my clients and call them all the time.
“This time they are not answering their phones and I do not know where they are,” she told the court.

Tingim Laip to be Madang-based

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
PAPUA New Guinea and Australia have agreed to extend a successful programme that is working to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.
The programme, ‘Tingim Laip’, with the second phase being launched on Tuesday in Madang, is aimed at reducing the HIV prevalence, improve care and support to those infected and to minimise its social and economic impacts on families.
The Tingim Laip programme, coordinated by the National AIDS Council Secretariat (NACS) will receive $A8million through AusAID bringing the total of funding assistance to $A18million through the PNG-Australia HIV&AIDS programme.
The first phase funding was mainly concentrated on training and supporting local communities to plan and implement HIV responses.
Tingim Laip focuses on comprehensive HIV prevention involving condoms, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, voluntary counselling and testing, care, support and treatment.
Sir Peter, who launched Tingim Laip 2, said the current prevalence figures were not realistic enough with cases in  remote places such as the Hagahais near the Sepik/Madang border, where 15 out of a total of 150 people tested were  found to be infected.
“If the remote Hagahais can be found to be positive, then we surely have a big problem here.
“Wep Kanawi (NACS director) says that we are spending too much on treatment and should be concentrating on prevention but treatment is containing the spread and is a form of prevention as well,” he said when responding to Kanawi’s comments recently.
Kanawi had said that funding should be spread equally if they were to achieve the Tingim Laip goal, which is to conduct effective prevention at marked sites.
Tingim Laip has been running for the last four years with 36 sites in 11 provinces.

DSTP decision today

THE Ramu NiCo and its partner’s will wait until today to find out whether or not their legal battle with the Basamuk landowners will end today.
Yesterday, in a packed court room, counsel Tiffany Nonggorr argued that her “new” client, Louis Medaing, joined the proceedings.
Nonggorr argued that since the trio had tendered documents before the court requesting for their withdrawal, Medaing, on his own free will, requested that she represent him regarding the issue at hand since he “also has the same interest in the matter”.
Others issues to be decided today are the joinder by Medaing and the withdrawal of the three plaintiffs.

Modilon General Hospital crisis lingers

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
THE Modilon General Hospital management crisis is far from over since the court ordered the week-long sit in protesters to return to work.
One of the orders by justice David Cannings was for the disputing parties to talk to each other and finding solutions to outstanding work, pay and other conditions.
However, they had not met as the staff say that the one-person management team was not worth meeting.
The staff were also angry at a weekend announcement by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare that the National Executive Council had confirmed the three-year appointment of Sr Christine Gawi as Modilon CEO.
“I call on all specialist doctors  and other hospital staff who have gone on strike to resume duties while the administration looks into the issues raised,” Sir Michael said.
He said the Personnel Management Department was preparing a contract of employment for Gawi to sign.
However, the 200-plus signatories to the petition put numerous times to the Health Minister Sasa Zibe and secretary Dr Clement Malau, are now questioning the legality of the recent appointment.
Their lawyer, Young Wedau, when expressing his view, said since the advertisement of the CEO position on May 30, 2008, seven people applied of which only five were selected.
“The five were then screened and only three names were given to the board.
“The long delay in appointing a CEO proper has so far seen two of those three short-listed leave Modilon for better jobs.”
“The (hospital) board then should have re-advertised.
“Gawi was then the director of nursing services and was only acting CEO being the only one left of the three.
“Currently, her two counterparts  – director finance and administration and director medical services – were also on acting position at that time,” he said.
Wedau claimed that under the Regulatory Statutory Authorities Act 2004, proper procedures were not followed.
“It must be based on merits and nothing has been gazetted.”
The hospital staff has until Friday to reach some sort of consensus with Sr Gawi and her executive arm.
“Otherwise, all matters will go before Cannings for further legal clarifications.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Madang and Lae take out national softball club titles

By HENRY MORABANG, The National
MADANG champions, 09ers (men) and Lae’s Island Shipping Manolos (women) are the kings and queens of the 2010 InterOil-sponsored PNG Club softball challenge.
Both teams collected K5,500 each, including the championship trophies.
In the men’s grand final, Madang 09ers capitalised on the PNG Power’s infield errors and a good homer by Kelly Upaupa to set the Madang champions on track for their inaugural honours.
In the women’s encounter, it was Island Manolos of Lae with sisters Tara and Shirley ToMangana proving their class against the Port Moresby Stingers to win 8-1.
The men’s showdown was one of the best witnessed for the long time at the national or club championships.
It was classic battle of the Zale brothers of Madang and the Tovias of Port Moresby’s PNG Power.
The match was so tight in both batting and fielding with no scores recorded in the first two opening innings.
PNG Power drew first blood in the top of the third inning when Demas Tovia hit a home run after his elder brother, Danny, was caught near the boundary to put them in front.
At the bottom of the same inning, PNG Power infielders seemed to lose concentration that saw Madang’s Sailas Darius sneaking home to level the score 1-1.
With two runners still on second and first base, Taki Zale attempt for a boundary fell short.
Then promising PNG representative Kelly Upaupa stepped onto batting mound and sent Danny Tovia’s delivery over boundary to grab a 4-1 lead.
Neither teams scored any points at the top of the fourth inning.
But 09ers were more composed in the bottom of the fourth inning when Desmond Zale cushioned their lead after a good three-base hit to extend the visitors’ lead to 5-1.
PNG Power came alive in  the top of the fifth inning when Danny Tovia belted a three-base hit to advance his sibling Ezikiel Tovia Jr from second base to third and home base while he slid home to narrow the scores 5-3.
Despite PNG Power having the opportunity in the last two innings, 09ers pitcher Meli Tarangau, restricted the PNG Power batters from scoring any in their last turn to bat.
Elated coach Zale said his boys had been training for the event despite playing at the local competition in Madang.
“When we lost to Manolos in the semi-final of the last club championships, it had inspired the boys to work harder to come to this championship and win it,” he said.
The boys had prepared well for it and winning is bonus for softball supporters in Madang,” he said.
Awards winners: Top infielders: Antonia Tatai (Bears-POM), Junior Pulu (Island Manolos- Lae), outfielder: Shirley ToMangana (Island Manolos-Lae); Demas Tovia (PNG Power-POM); top batter: Lisa Polum (Wantoks POM), Miller Kuwoh (Mantarays POM); top pitcher: Tara ToMangana (Island Manolos-Lae) and Danny Tovia (PNG Power-POM).
The player of the tournament were Philomena Marut (Island Manalos-Lae) and Steven Polum (PNG Power-POM).

Madang and Lae take out national softball club titles

By HENRY MORABANG
MADANG champions, 09ers (men) and Lae’s Island Shipping Manolos (women) are the kings and queens of the 2010 InterOil-sponsored PNG Club softball challenge.
Both teams collected K5,500 each, including the championship trophies.
In the men’s grand final, Madang 09ers capitalised on the PNG Power’s infield errors and a good homer by Kelly Upaupa to set the Madang champions on track for their inaugural honours.
In the women’s encounter, it was Island Manolos of Lae with sisters Tara and Shirley ToMangana proving their class against the Port Moresby Stingers to win 8-1.
The men’s showdown was one of the best witnessed for the long time at the national or club championships.
It was classic battle of the Zale brothers of Madang and the Tovias of Port Moresby’s PNG Power.
The match was so tight in both batting and fielding with no scores recorded in the first two opening innings.
PNG Power drew first blood in the top of the third inning when Demas Tovia hit a home run after his elder brother, Danny, was caught near the boundary to put them in front.
At the bottom of the same inning, PNG Power infielders seemed to lose concentration that saw Madang’s Sailas Darius sneaking home to level the score 1-1.
With two runners still on second and first base, Taki Zale attempt for a boundary fell short.
Then promising PNG representative Kelly Upaupa stepped onto batting mound and sent Danny Tovia’s delivery over boundary to grab a 4-1 lead.
Neither teams scored any points at the top of the fourth inning.
But 09ers were more composed in the bottom of the fourth inning when Desmond Zale cushioned their lead after a good three-base hit to extend the visitors’ lead to 5-1.
PNG Power came alive in  the top of the fifth inning when Danny Tovia belted a three-base hit to advance his sibling Ezikiel Tovia Jr from second base to third and home base while he slid home to narrow the scores 5-3.
Despite PNG Power having the opportunity in the last two innings, 09ers pitcher Meli Tarangau, restricted the PNG Power batters from scoring any in their last turn to bat.
Elated coach Zale said his boys had been training for the event despite playing at the local competition in Madang.
“When we lost to Manolos in the semi-final of the last club championships, it had inspired the boys to work harder to come to this championship and win it,” he said.
The boys had prepared well for it and winning is bonus for softball supporters in Madang,” he said.
Awards winners: Top infielders: Antonia Tatai (Bears-POM), Junior Pulu (Island Manolos- Lae), outfielder: Shirley ToMangana (Island Manolos-Lae); Demas Tovia (PNG Power-POM); top batter: Lisa Polum (Wantoks POM), Miller Kuwoh (Mantarays POM); top pitcher: Tara ToMangana (Island Manolos-Lae) and Danny Tovia (PNG Power-POM).
The player of the tournament were Philomena Marut (Island Manalos-Lae) and Steven Polum (PNG Power-POM).

Modilon clears report of deaths

THERE are no deaths as a result of last week’s “illegal protest” by nursing staff at Modilon General Hospital in Madang, the hospital management said yesterday.
Hospital board chairman Fr Jan Czuba said the public should not to be concerned with the insinuation drawn by a Post-Courier report last Tuesday that three people had died during the protest by certain staff members.
He also announced that specialist medical officers that were not available in the hospital were being sought and it would take time before they were recruited.
Czuba said hospital doctors and nurses who were on duty while some staff led by “four ring-leaders” confirmed the three deaths and stated that they were not preventable.
“We have very hard working doctors and nurses with a sound professional ethics and they were on duty and no patient was left unattended during the illegal protest engineered by certain staff members.
“At no time have our doctors and nurses did not attend to patients,” he said.
“The three deaths that have occurred were recorded by doctors and nurses and they were from causes that would not have been prevented.
“As a hospital, we are concerned with the inference made by the news report that the deaths occurred because staff members were on strike.”
He said the recruitment of a gynaecologist and anesthetist were among the several demands contained in a petition by the striking staff and the hospital administration was working with the Health Department to recruit needed staff members.
Czuba also clarified the court order obtained by the board and management earlier last week that forced protesting staff members to return to work was done to ensure the hospital continued to serve the public, those men, women and children who otherwise had not voice.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Manam on alert

By ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
A STAGE one alert has been issued to villagers on Madang’s Manam Island following seismic activities reported in recent weeks.
This was revealed by an officer from the Rabaul Volcanic Observatory (RVO) when confirming reports given to this newspaper yesterday of smoke seen rising from the island’s volcano.
President of Iabu Local Level Gov-ernment Lawrence Konaka reported these volcanic activities and raise concerns over his people’s safety and future on the island.
He also wanted to know what plans the National Government had for the permanent resettlement of the islanders.
An officer from the Rabaul Volcanic Observatory when contacted the volcanic activities said there had been increased activities on the island since August 3 and because of this an officer, who also happened to be a local from Manam, had been sent to Madang to closely monitor the situation.
He said the office had been mon-itoring the situation and the activities had slightly decreased.
“Last week a small red glow could be seen at night and during the day time a bit of ash content but only at the mouth of the crater,” he said.
“We have issued a stage one alert and that basically means that villagers should be aware of these activities and be prepared.
“However at this stage there is no real cause for concern.”
He said all local authorities including the provincial administration had been briefed and they were still communicating with them.
Meanwhile, Mr Konaka said he was concerned that while there had been a lot of good talk on the issue of permanent resettlement, it was taking a little too long.
“We’ve had the Minister for Inter-Government Relations Job Pomat visit us and even the Prime Minister Sir Michael regarding our plight I am wondering who else is going to visit us in relation to this issue but more importantly when we will see some tangible progress?” he said.
“Our people have and continue to suffer. I really don’t know what the hold-up is or what we are waiting for? More blood to be spilled before this issue is seriously addressed?
“There has been too much fighting and my people are tired of this rou-tine.”

Rai Coast leaders blast foreign NGO

THE influential Saidor LLG of Madang’s Rai Coast has disassociated itself from non-governmental organisations (NGO) that claim to represent their interest in opposing the Ramu nickel project deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system at Basamuk Bay.
The LLG specifically singled out Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG), based in Madang, in affidavits filed at the Waigani National Court on Tuesday.
It said in its court papers that BRG was a foreign-owned NGO that was using the Ramu NiCo project landowners of Basamuk to secure overseas funding for its own benefit.
The affidavits were from Saidor LLG president Lau Nangar, vice-president Yabi Asime, chairman of social services Dongembu Dugai, member Daniel Malaka and Village Court magistrate Devi Sama.
They said that BRG was not transparent, or accountable, to the people of Basamuk and Rai Coast on the funding it had received and the source of the funding to instigate the court action on DSTP.
“The principals of BRG have not been transparent or accountable to us, the people of Basamuk and Rai Coast, with the funds they have raised using the DSTP issue,” all five affidavits stated.
They also accused BRG of not consulting with them to use Eddie Tarsie (first plaintiff), Farina Siga (second plaintiff) and Peter Sel (third plaintiff) in the DSTP litigation.
“This NGO did not consult or get the Saidor LLG’s permission and, instead, snatched one member from Saidor LLG (Tarsie).
“Sagi is ward three secretary to Tarsie while Sel is a ward committee member of ward three which is under Tarsie,” Dugai said in his affidavit.
He also said Tarsie was under his LLG and did not represent the wider interest of Saidor LLG and its people.
“The interest of BRG, as an NGO, is not the same as that of Saidor LLG and the people of Basamuk.
“The people want the project to continue with the national government addressing the people’s issues,” the affidavits stated.
They said they had authorised Sama Melambo (fifth plaintiff) and Pommern ILG to institute the case, and not the other plaintiffs in the matter against the project currently stopping the DSTP system construction.
Melambo announced on Wednesday that he and Pommern ILG were withdrawing from the proceedings.

Plaintiffs withdraw from Ramu tailings

THE principal plaintiff in the Ramu nickel project court case is withdrawing from the National Court proceedings which has halted construction of its deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) in Basamuk Bay, Madang. Sama Melambo announced that he (fifth plaintiff) and Pommern ILG (fourth plaintiff) had also filed court papers to seek leave and await the government the project developer, Ramu NiCo, to come up with satisfactory environment and development package forthe people of Rai Coast, which includes Basamuk. In a separate but related move four LLG presidents and a magistrate of the area filed affidavits in the Madang National Court on Monday saying that they had not authorized the first, second and third plaintiffs to be party to the proceedings initiated in March against RamuNiCo and the state. A spokesman for Ramu NiCo said yesterday the company was aware of the latest turn of events but would not comment at this stage because the case was still pending. Melambo, Pommern ILG, Eddie Tarsie, Farina Siga and Peter Sel had been granted an interim court order on the DSTP offshore facility construction claiming that the system was environmentally harmful. The matter will be heard by the Madang National Court on Dec 21. However, Melambosaid in a media statement on Monday that he and Pommern ILG were withdrawing from the case in the national interest. “The greater good of all citizens requires that this litigation not fester and endanger a national project. “We have laid our concerns before our government and we are confident the government will answer the legitimate cries of the forgotten people of Rai Coast. “Personally, I have worked hard as the officer in charge of occupational health and safety and environment for Ramu nickel project to see it come to fruition. “I am not about stopping it or closing it down. I want to see it progress on proper footing. This is the Madang way.” He said he, the Pommern LLG and Saidor LLG were satisfied that they now had the full attention of the political leadership and that of the Ramu NiCo management about their concerns. “It was never my intention or that of Pommern Bay LLG and Saidor LLG to stop mining in Ramu and hold the country toransom. “It was not our intention to stop deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system. “Rather it was always our intention to ensure that the laws are fully complied with and our development needs in what is a world-class project area be properly addressed, and the environment be properly protected and managed.”

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Govt messages confuse locals

By ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
CONFLICTING messages were sent by Government as to whether it wanted those who are opposing the deep-sea tailing placement system to provide alternatives or not.
While the national MPs during a recent DSTP awareness meeting called on critics, including the non-government organisations, to provide the Government with alternatives, the bureaucrats on the other hand said the issue was non-negotiable.
Several locals who attended the meeting, which was jointly organised by the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Mineral Resources Authority at the Divine Word University, had said that with science, information and technology constantly evolving they did not believe the government had exhausted all means to find a environmental system which was safer than the DSTP method.
Anton Yagama, a local from Bundi, said he was neither impressed nor convinced that the DSTP was safe.
Mr Yagama said that with all the resources which leaders and bureaucrats had, it was disheartening that they could not present to the locals of Madang an alternative and were dead-set with just the mine waste management system.
“Waigani with all its resources has not given us any alternative other than the DSTP. Many times this is the case with government. It comes up with one decision and always forces it down our throat without providing options.
“Our land and sea is our life and issues relating to this cause us great pain and instead of soothing it, you are trying to suppress it.
“You should refrain from trying to force things down our throat,” he said. Another speaker told the meeting that one alternative which had not been pursued and which he believed would solve some of the problems government was experiencing was the plasma-waste technology whereby the mine tailings was transformed into by-products, some of which were known to be suitable for road maintenance.
The suggestion intrigued Madang Governor Sir Arnold Amet who had during the meeting queried the speakers who had raised the issue if the option was viable and further they had any supporting documents and a proposal in which they could put forward to government and the developer as an alternative to the system they already had.
These comments drew the ire of DEC acting executive director of environmental protection wing, Michael Wau, who said that the department understood full well that land was an issue.

Manam students’ plight

By PORENI UMAU, Post Courier
THEY were forced out of their island community by a natural disaster and were placed in care centres.
They sought refuge at the Asuramba Care Centre in Bogia district, on the North Coast Road.
They are the future contributors to nation building and attend various high schools and secondary schools while others are in tertiary institutions including colleges and universities. Only by the “Grace of God” would they be allowed to continue.
They are students from Manam Island, currently living at the Asuramba Care Centre.
Their councillor John Siga from the Iabu local level government area raised concerns over these students, forced to withdraw from their studies because they could not pay their school fees.
Mr Siga said most of the affected were students in their final year of studies at tertiary institutions, others in Grades 10 and 12.
He said because they had been displaced by the volcano eruption in 2004, many who live at the care centre did not own anything at all.
He said that with such a problem, parents had no one to turn to for support as they had relied on the national and provincial governments until now.
Mr Siga said that it was disheartening to see intelligent young men and women pushed out of their final year studies because of school fee problems.
He said that they were asked to leave because they could not meet the fees owed.
“It is only by the ‘Grace of God’ that we hope they will be asked to return,” a worried Mr Siga said.
He said the deadline for fees lapsed last Friday and the students have not returned to classes.
He said the issue was brought to the attention of Madang Governor Sir Arnold Amet and a letter was submitted to Bogia MP John Hickey through the electoral officer Robert Nanguri last week regarding the plight of the Manam Island students.
Meanwhile, Mr Siga said that the people had gone without a health worker since the conflict a few months ago.

Duo play starring roles in Nabasa win

NATIONAL Soccer League players Neil Hans and Mclaren Buran played starring roles to help Nabasa beat their neighbours, Diwai 4-2 in round 16 of Madang Soccer Association competition.
After a short recess, Nabasa built on their reputation to teach the  Divine Word University students a lesson.
Nabasa scored the first goal in the opening 10 minutes when Madang Fox representative player Buran dribbled past three lazy Diwai defenders to score.
Diwai’s two goals came from penalties caused by Nabasa defenders.
In other matches, Mimlon FC thrashed NCD 9-0. The boys from PHD Compound showed no mercy on the NCR boys belting them with the highest score line recorded in Madang soccer.
Souths upset competition leaders Momase 2-0 while a combined Tusbab Blue Kumuls hammered Sigma 6B United 4-1.
Meanwhile, Momase still lead the premier competition with 25 points followed by Nabasa 19 and Airlink 19, while in the women’s division, Tusbab are on 31 points followed by Momase 26 and Airlink 23.

Ramu tailings plan less risky

THE Ramu-nickel environmental plan was prepared by Natural Systems Research, a widely respected Australian environmental consultancy company with many years experience in the mining and natural resource sectors.
This environmental plan was based on a comprehensive range of terrestrial and marine field investigations and environmental studies carried out by Natural Systems Research’s consultants.
The Department of Environment and Conservation assessed the environmental plan in 1999.
As part of this assessment, DEC commissioned several independent peer reviews of the plan in areas in which they did not have the specialist expertise to conduct a diligent, critical and expert assessment of the environmental plan.
One of these areas was the assess-ment of the proposed deep-sea tailings placement system (DSTP). The DEC commissioned Dames and Moore, an international consultancy company with wide experience in the mining and waste management sectors, to carry out the independent assessment of the proposed DSTP system.
The recommendations of the Dames and Moore (1999) independent review were that the environmental risks associated with a marine mine tailings disposal system were acceptable and lower than a land-based tailings retention system.

Ramu safe: Pundari


Deep sea tailings plan least risky

ERIC TAPAKAU, Post Courier
THE development of a deep sea tailings placement system at Basamuk Bay is the least environmentally risky option for the disposal of mine tailings from the Ramu nickel mine, Mining Minister John Pundari said.
Mr Pundari said this after outlining numerous studies conducted by internationally reputable organisations into the proposed DSTP for the Ramu mine.
“The Government is confident that given this body of evidence, combined with the continuing efforts towards ensuring that the disposal of mine tailings from the Ramu nickel mine is done in an environmentally safe and socially responsible manner, DSTP system is the right approach and therefore refute the statements made in the media,” he said.
“The Government further believes that the environ-mentally responsible development of the Ramu Nickel Mine utilising DSTP technology offers the people of Rai Coast and the people of Madang Province an important opportunity to develop their communities and enjoy the economic benefits that large scale mining projects have brought to other parts of the country.”
He said it was unfortunate that such a volume of study and information was available even before 2003 when MCC first carried out its due diligence study before taking a decision to invest in PNG and it appeared that these studies (dating back to 1988 and beyond) were not an issue for contention until MCC’s involvement in the project.
“We must appreciate the financial risk undertaken by the Chinese enterprises to invest in PNG in a project that is technically difficult to develop when no other investor was willing to undertake the challenge,” he said.
“The Government wishes to stress to all stakeholders in the mining industry of Papua New Guinea that the National Government exercises a non-prejudicial policy towards all investors and will be fair to any investor as long as it is in accordance with the laws of Papua New Guinea.”
He said the Government of PNG also commended the outcome of the meeting between all the stake-holders that were present and duly represented at the consultation forum last week in Madang.
“The progressive efforts and understanding esta-blished so far is highly commendable and reflective of the genuine desire of all stakeholders to find an amicable and favourable solution to this unfortunate impasse over the last few weeks,” Mr Pundari said.

Ramu discharge worry

By ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
WHILE there are mechanisms in place to monitor the proposed deep sea tailing placement system, there is nothing in place to monitor discharge that is being allowed to flow freely into the Ramu River system.
This was one of the many admissions made by the officers from the Department of Environment and Conservation during a day-long awareness meeting on the DSTP which was conducted in Madang last week.
The issue of the “free-flow” into the Ramu River was raised during the meeting by former chairman of the Kurumbukari Landowner Association Toby Barre.
Mr Barre said he understood a lot of soil erosion had taken place and what was of concern was the effect, if any, this was going to have on the river system, especially as a lot of this was a result of the blasting exercise which had been conducted using explosives.
“The blasting exercise involved the use of explosives which we know contains chemicals. Our concerns are that a lot of these chemicals may now be in the river system.
“If so we have a lot of people who depend on the river system for their sustenance and livelihood. Has your office started monitoring this? If it hasn’t how does it intend on going about this exercise?” he asked.
DEC acting executive director of the environmental protection wing Michael Wau admitted that the department had not done enough to monitor discharge into the river system.
He said one of the reasons why this had been allowed was manpower shortage.
Mr Wau said these responsibilities lay with the project developer to monitor these discharges and to report back to them what was happening on the ground.
Mr Barre accused the Government of failing in its responsibility again in that it did not have a policy established to address this problem. “You can’t allow damage to occur, then fix the problem later. The people’s lives depend on the decisions you make today.”
The meeting heard that several landowners living along the Ramu River were seeking to take out an injunction to prevent damage to the river system.
Middle Ramu MP and Fisheries Minister Ben Semri who was at the meeting raised his concerns on the mine impact on the Ramu River.
“I am concerned about the impact on the Ramu River and how my people will suffer but this is a government project and I will support it,” he said.

Madang thank CCA for support

MADANG Soccer Association (MSA) has thanked the leading soft drink company, Coca-Cola Amatil for supporting the PNGFA U20 soccer tournament in Madang this month.
Association president Conrad Wadunah said the Coca-Cola U20 soccer tournament would start next Wednesday.
He said the support given by Coca-Cola was a boost for development of the young Papua New Guineans.
“It has been a long time for a youth tournament of this magnitude has gone unnoticed. Madang is the home of soccer and for Coca-Cola to come on board at this time gives confidence and encouragement to the organisers and the people of Madang.”
Wadunah said the sponsorship would create a common understanding and lasting relationship for the benefit of the young footballers in PNG.
“We hope that the support or sponsorship from Coca-Cola Amatil will give the desire to our young people to enjoy football and be good citizens within their own communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, preparations for the event are going smoothly and the hosts are working in close consultation with the PNG Football Association.
Wadunah urged participating teams to send in the name lists of all their players and officials to the Madang Soccer Association on fax 422 3698 or e-mail madangsoka@hotmail.com.
The president can be reached on 7336-1002 to obtain more information.
Host organising committee member Afinini Tawi can also be reached on 7224-6782.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pundari: Ramu tailings disposal effective

 
By PATRICK TALU, The National
THE government has maintained the disposal of mine tailings from the Ramu mickel mine is done in an “environmentally safe and socially responsible manner”.
Mining minister John Pundari, commenting on the outcome of a week-long stakeholders meeting in Madang on the deep-sea tailings placement system (DSTP), said it (the system) was the right approach.
In a statement yesterday, Pundari said the government was confident given the body of evidences from various environmental reports and assessment on the possible environmental impact assessment carried out by internationally reputable scientific organization.
He also noted the continuing efforts towards ensuring the proper disposal of tailings from the mine.
“We must appreciate the financial risk undertaken by the Chinese enterprises to invest in PNG in a project that is technically difficult to develop when no other investor was willing to undertake the challenge,” Pundari said.
He said the government further believed that the environmentally responsible development of the Ramu nickel mine using DSTP technology offered  the people of Rai Coast and the people of Madang an important opportunity to develop their communities and enjoy the economic benefits that large-scale mining projects had brought to other parts of the country.
“In parting, it is unfortunate that such a volume of study and information was available even before 2003 when MCC first carried out its due diligence study before taking a decision to invest in PNG,” Pundari said.
“It appears that these studies (dating back to 1988 and beyond) were not an issue for contention until MCC’s involvement in the project,” Pundari added.

Woman gets 14 years for murder

By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
THE National Court in Madang last Thursday sentenced a woman to 12 years jail with hard labour for killing another woman after she suspected her of having and affair with her husband.
Agnes Baru Anton, 18, from Karisokra village in Bundi stabbed the woman to death last Aug 17 after finding her conversing with her husband at a village disco.
According to facts before the courts, Anton had been forced into marrying her husband and was two months pregnant at the time.
She went to the disco because she had heard rumours of her husband talking to the deceased in places.
At the disco she saw the woman standing next to her husband in a secluded place away from the main dance area.
“I felt bad when I saw them together as he had forced me to marry him and made me pregnant and now he was with this woman.
“I thought of how my father had left us and it seemed like the sort of thing was going to happen again.
The woman died from three stab wounds.
Agnes was attacked and lost her baby. Her house was also burnt down in retaliation.
A compensation or “bel kol moni” of K1,370 and seven pigs was arrange by Anton and her relatives.
She pleaded guilty and expressed remorse for the crime but Justice David Cannings said this was not a strong case for a suspension of the sentence.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Judge visits Beon jail facilities

MADANG’S resident judge Justice David Cannings visited Beon jail at the weekend. The purpose of the visit was to see the living conditions for four of the 14 inmates accused in the BSP robbery trial.
During the visit he also took time out to have a look at the houses some of the CS officers are living in. Justice Cannings (who is pictured third from left) was told that about 15 officers were living in bush material homes.
He was told that these houses had been built by the inmates and the one in which he is pictured outside belonged to a corporal.
He learned many high ranking officers on site were also forced to live in these bush material and semi-permanent homes due to the unavailability of proper houses at the prison grounds.

Sick state of Gusap

GUSAP Health Centre in Madang’s Usino/Bundi district needs money to upgrade aging infrastructures.
Executive officer Felix Karpai told the Post-Courier he “urgently needed” more than K66,000 to build staff houses and a perimeter fence around the facility.
Mr Karpai said there was a greater need for the authorities, especially the Joint District Planning & Budget Priority Committee (JDP&BPC), the Madang Provincial Government and the National Government to fund the health centre’s rehabilitation project.
He said: “The population of Gusap is increasing every week due to the introduction of oil palm on the Markham plains.
“Thus, the Government should upgrade infrastructures at the Gusap in a bid for it to deliver adequate and effective health services to the populace.”
Gusap health board’s deputy chairman Pastor Kom Gilmai expressed similar sentiments saying they were looking for funds to build seven staff houses.
Pr Gilmai said: “We are glad that AusAID has “given us the green light to finance one house. The Government should fund the rest of the houses and other facilities.”

Diwai bows out in final

By PORENI UMAU, Post Courier
DROPPED balls was the order of the day as LBC Warriors forced Ela Diwai to hang up their boots for the season, winning 10-8 in Madang Rugby League semi-finals last Sunday.
The win gives Warriors the chance to have a crack at the grand finals with Royals this weekend. The game, played before a vocal crowd at the Ron Albert Oval was played down to a nail biting finish with Warriors getting the upper hand with two minutes to full time via a penalty conversion by Esekiel Roka after Diwai fullback Douglas Kata tripped Abi Ekai.
Eka had only Kata to beat after he broke through the Diwai defence only to be tripped and was awarded a penalty that gave his team the win at full time.
Diwai was the first to score with a minute into kick off when Warriors fullback Roger Diru spilled the ball in his goal area. A well orchestrated play by Diwai halves Grant Towingo and Anaga Issac sent winger Jerry Jacob over the try line for the first four pointer. Issac lifted the flags to give Divine Word University a 6-nil lead.
Diwai then launched attacks with hard running forwards Adrian Baungas, Eddie Lappa, captain Joel Martin leading the way.
Warriors tackling machine Samson Mala, Jessey Alko, Kelema Andrew and Hector Morris kept the uni boys at bay. Warriors led by their forwards and strong runs from winger Kembol Kaikepe countered the Diwai raid and in the 13th minute Kaikepe dropped the ball with the try line wide open and at his mercy after a good set play.
The Warriors regrouped and tormented the Diwai defence with halves Albie Eka and Esekiel Roka leading and testing Diwai at will. The pressure produced a try in the 18th minute when centre John Lango dived over for the Warriors four pointer. Eka‘s conversion tied the scores at 6-all to the break.
The second stanza saw Warriors come out with all guns blazing as they launched several raids against the Diwai defence.
Both teams refused to give in but Warriors was the better side in a hard fought match, winning by a mere 10-8 at fulltime.

Delays to cost PNG more

By ERIC TAPAKAU, Post Courier
WHEN our debt from international donors is being significantly reduced, Papua New Guinea is set to crawl on its knees to repay overseas investors if the ongoing landowner issues in mineral and petroleum resource areas are not sorted out once and for all.
This is a warning from a highly placed expert in the mining and petroleum industry who said penalty fees would amount to billions of dollars and any negative impact on the projects emanating from landowner issues would also badly tarnish the good name of the country, especially at a time when PNG was enjoying a reputation globally as a “good investment destination”.
“If these projects do not meet their deadlines, there are clauses in their agreements that they will be liable to pay penalty fees and the State will also be liable to pay some of those fees,” he said.
He said currently PNG was in the process of hosting two multi-billion projects in the Ramu nickel/cobalt project and the PNG LNG Project but both projects had their share of landowner issues.
But he is not alone as Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare also fears that PNG will be liable to repay billions of dollars in penalty fees to the Chinese-owned Ramu NiCo and its parent company China Metallurgical and Constructions Company Ltd if the Ramu project does not meet its schedules.
He said this earlier this year when highlighting the fact that Ramu was an important project for the country.
Ramu NiCo said in an advertisement yesterday that it would consider retrenching its workers after the National Court refused to lift the injunction preventing Ramu NiCo from constructing the offshore component of the project’s deep sea tailings placement system.
The company has so far spent $US1.2 billion of the total $US1.4 billion on construction and construction work is ending with production set to resume by the end of this year.
Ramu NiCo is understood to be losing K7 million daily when the project is delayed due to the court challenge on the DSTP.
“As construction is winding down and most of the equipment has been installed, one real option is to now place the project on a care and maintenance basis, postpone the operational works and adopt retrenchment measures, even though this would be devastating for our workers and their dependents and for the landowners, other community members and business partners,” the company said in a statement.
“Given this, Ramu NiCo will do everything it reasonably can to minimise the losses and the first action will be to urgently appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.”
The company said it would also discuss the present situation with project stakeholders before taking further action.
The PNG LNG project also faces similar situation with construction phase set to be completed by 2013, all stakeholders including the State will be liable to pay hefty penalty fees if first gas is not delivered by 2014.

Kapris and others ‘win’

By ROSALYN EVARA, Post Courier
BEON jail commander was yesterday ordered by the National Court to ensure that William Kapris and his three other co-accuseds are provided with basic necessities.
The orders were made yesterday in relation to the human rights applications which had been filed by Kapris, Kito Aso, Elvis Bala Aka and Isabelle Kivare last week through their respective lawyers.
The orders that were sought by the applicants were in relation to Section 57 of the Constitution which encompassed their right from freedom from inhuman treatment, full protection of the law and to be treated with humanity.
Following his visit to the jail at the weekend and submissions which had been made by the respective lawyers on behalf of their clients on Tuesday, the court heard the orders were for the duration of their stay in Madang and not in relation to concerns which they had raised of their detention at Bomana.
Justice Cannings said having seen the place in which Kapris, Aso and Bala Aka were being kept he said the state was much better than they were back in 2005 when he last visited and had ordered the closure of the then “dark cells”.
However, he said it was still “inhuman in some aspects”.
He ordered that Kapris and Aso because of their records of escape and the security issues raised by the CS Commissioner remain in separate confinements but that they by August 30 be provided with fresh blankets, towels and mosquito nets.
He ordered that both also be given four litres of clean water every day and a basin in which to wash their hands, two periods of 30 minutes in the open air in which to exercise and one visit a week also for 30 minutes by a family member or friend in addition to the visit by their lawyer.
Further that both be escorted to Modilon Hospital for medical checks and treatments for injuries which they have sustained, Kapris to both his feet and Aso to his mouth and lips.
Justice Cannings ordered that Bala Aka be moved from the separate confinement to the main remand compound by August 27 as he had history of escape.
In relation to Kivare’s application Justice Cannings also ordered that she be provided by the August 30 with fresh blankets for both her and her daughter, towels and a larger mosquito net.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

DWU launches solar power



THE Divine Word University in Madang has taken on a “green university” initiative by investing in solar power, which was launched by businessman and former politician Sir Peter Barter last Sunday.
The solar power project was the highlight of the university’s 14th foundation day anniversary, the day the government declared Divine Word Institute as a national university.
Under the solar project, phase one would include the installation of solar-powered street lights.
Archbishop of the Madang Catholic archdiocese William Kurtz celebrated the occasion with the university and blessed the street lights.
Sir Peter said DWU was on the right path to invest in solar energy to help combat global warming-induced climate change.
He said other tertiary institutions and the rest of PNG should follow the lead by DWU and invest in alternate energy from fossil fuel.
“Solar power equipment does not come cheaply, or easily.
“It is through hard work, dedication and commitment,” Sir Peter said, and commended the efforts of DWU president Fr Jan Czuba and project coordinator Fr Philip Smith.
Fr Czuba said solar power street lights at the Madang campus were part of a three-year project that would cover all DWU campuses.
He said the project was trialed at the university’s Coronation Drive property.
The university’s concern for the environment began with the launching of its “paperless university” policy three years ago.
Fr Czuba said the university would continue to upgrade its campus facilities and grounds to ensure it promotes nature and the natural environment.
Student Representative Council president Kathleen Tokilivila praised the university, saying the students were proud to be studying in an institution that had developed innovative ways to serve the public.

DWU students celebrate Cultural Day


THE Divine Word University campus once again came alive with traditional song and dance as students took the centre stage in the annual Cultural Day in Madang last Saturday.
For the first time students from neighbouring Solomon Islands, whose intake has increased this year, also showcased their culture.
The students from the proposed provinces of Hela and Jiwaka were also allowed for the first time to perform separately from Southern Highlands and Western Highlands respectively.
The public in Madang and the visiting tourists and the growing expatriate community of Chinese, Filipinos and Europeans took the chance to see a sampling of the diverse cultures and traditions of PNG.
The Cultural Day is in August every year that the university sets for the students to acknowledge their indigenous roots in traditional song, dance, costumes and folklore.
President of the university, Fr Jan Czuba, said the Cultural Day was not a “show” but a day the students must be given a chance to reflect on the importance and values of the indigenous cultures of PNG amidst the
influences of modern ways.

Leaders maintain ‘no DSTP’ stand

VARIOUS landowner groups yesterday renewed their opposition that to the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system in Madang waters.
A group of disgruntled leaders met at the seafront of Coastwatchers Hotel as the Madang National Court was hearing an application by Ramu NiCo seeking a lifting of the interim injunction which had halted its construction of the DSTP system offshore facility at Basamuk Bay.
In a media statement, the group, backed by plaintiffs Farina Siga, Sama Melambo, Eddie Tarsie and Peter Sel, said that the simple message was “there will be no DSTP in Madang”.
“We call on Mining Minister John Pundari, who, a few days ago, visited Bongu village in Rai Coast and made an undertaking of ‘looking into things’ and who recently deviated from that speech, to stop drawing attention away from the real issue confronting us – listen to the people.”
Leader George Ireng said they were not against nickel mining or any other mining activity but wanted the government to find an alternate method of tailings disposal.
He said that DSTP was banned in other countries and PNG should follow suit.
The group noted the failure by the Lands Titles Commission to sit and identify genuine landowners along in the project impact areas.
Bagbag islander John Simoi said the Bismarck and Solomon seas were famous for their unique biodiversity and home to half of the world’s coral, leatherback turtles, various seagrass and tuna breeding ground in what is known as the Magado Square.
 

Ramu NiCo considers laying off workers

RAMU NiCo, the manager of Ramu nickel joint venture, will consider laying off workers at its nickel and cobalt operations in Madang following yesterday’s National Court refusal to lift the interim injunction preventing the construction of its offshore component of the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system.
More than 3,000 people in the province depended on the US$1.4 billion project which is nearing the end of its construction phase.
They included about 1,200 Papua New Guinean workers at the Kurumbukari mine site in Usino-Bundi, the refinery site at Basamuk in the Rai Coast and the Madang head office.
They stand to lose their jobs.And, in a further blow, the forced stopwork at the mine will slash economic growth forecast for this year.
Government officials said yesterday the GDP growth target of 8.5% this year would be downgraded to 7.1%, a massive drop which could have a negative effect on PNG as an investment destination.
The slow down in the PNG LNG project was also going to have some impact on economic growth forecasts, they said.
Ramu NiCo said their first option though would be to urgently appeal yesterday’s decision to the Supreme Court.
An “extremely disappointed” Ramu NiCo said in a statement it had already lost millions of kina since the injunction was granted in March.
In an earlier pre-trial hearing, Ramu NiCo had told the court that damages suffered since the injunction was granted included K2.05 milllion in direct expenses, K360,000 a day in interest to banks and K1.3 million a day in cost to DSTP contractors.
It said it had suffered financial losses for which it could not possibly be compensated.
Ramu NiCo had sought to lift the injunction by five Basamuk plaintiffs to allow it to finish construction before the advent of the rainy season and had undertaken not to dispose of tailings through the pipeline without the court’s approval.
It said that up to June 30, it had spent US$1.2 billion out of the total development cost of US$1.4 billion for the project, which was scheduled to start trial operation by October.
Ramu NiCo said that given that it was unlikely that the DSTP would be completed before the rainy season, significant delays to the project construction and operational schedule was now unavoidable.
It said it had to fully assess the impact and amend the construction and operational timetable accordingly.
“As the construction is winding down and most of the equipment has been installed, one real option is to now place the project on a ‘care and maintenance’ basis, postpone the operational preparation works and adopt retrenchment measures, even though this would be devastating for our workers and their dependents and for the landowners, other community members and business partners.
“Given this, Ramu NiCo will do everything it reasonably can to minimise the losses.
“Ramu NiCo will also discuss the present situation with project stakeholders, including Highlands Pacific Limited, the government and landowners, before taking further actions,” it said.