Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ramu NiCo pursuing nickel project despite lawsuit

DESPITE a court injunction against the proposed deep-sea tailing system for the Ramu nickel project, project owner Ramu NiCo has decided to pursue other construction activities at the mining and refining sites.
The full-swing construction activities at the two sites are being bank-rolled by Chinese funds, which already spent more than US$1.2 billion (K3.3 billion).
Ramu Nico president Madam Luo Shu told reporters yesterday the National Court Injunction obtained by the Basamuk Bay landowners has not stalled activities at the mine site, save for the deep-sea tailing system.
With the mine being potentially the biggest project after the Bougainville copper mine or the Ok Tedi Mine, “Ramu NiCo will not let down its stakeholders, especially the National Government, project partners and the community at large”, she said.
“It’s a commitment we have with our stakeholders and the people of Papua New Guinea,” Luo said.
Highlands Pacific’s managing director John Gooding said: “Ramu nickel project is a significant project as it would be the first time for PNG to export nickel and cobalt once it begins production.”
It had the potential to have a greater impact on the country’s economy, he said.
Gooding also said Papua New Guineans could own up to 35% of the company by buying stakes through respective holdings companies.
Luo said up to the end of last year, the aggregated local procurement value involving supplies and provisions was in excess of K200 million, while spin-off businesses worth K80 million had been contracted to landowner companies.
Furthermore, more than K 5.1 million was paid to landowners as environmental and land compensation.

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