14 September 2012
New Ireland’s position on the Solwara 1 project remains unchanged, Governor Sir Julius Chan says.
In a letter dated Sept 12 to country manager Mel Togolo, Sir Julius said until it received clear indications that its demands would be met, it would continue to boycott meetings with Nautilus Minerals, the Mineral Resources Authority and other representatives, whose intent to convince us to sanction Solwara 1 under the current conditions and under the current mining regime.
He said the province wanted answers to the questions that the provincial government had reiterated over the years. He said they wanted an independent review of the environmental impact statement.
Sir Julius said many international experts had questioned the accuracy of that statement and the provincial government needed a full review before it would help in any further discussions.
He said there had been no response from Nautilus or the national government on that demand.
The provincial government asked for a disaster preparedness fund to cover the possibility of a major environmental disaster but that too had not been responded too.
“I feel that the risks are so great that US$100 million standby is without a doubt not asking too much,” he said.
The government’s third demand was that the province would not entertain new mining activities until the Mining Act 1992 was revised to return control of minerals on land and in sea to the people.
“We insist on the raising of the level of royalty, SGG and tax credit payments before we consider any new mining ventures.”
Sir Julius said there was no point in having additional meetings as the province’s position remained clear and unchanged.