Frieda river mine will blow a huge hole right through Vision 2050

The PM and his Ministers love to trumpet Vision 2050 and how clever we are to have a long-term development plan but have they actually read and understood what it says?

Source: Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

The government says it fully supports the construction of the proposed Frieda river mega-mine [see story below] but seems oblivious to the fact such projects are wholly incompatible with Vision 2050 and the National Goals in our Constitution.

In order to be a “smart, wise, happy and healthy society” Vision 2050 says we need to move away from an economy dominated by the mining and energy sectors and “instead concentrate on the growth in manufacturing, services, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and the eco-tourism sector”.

Vision 2050 says having an economy dominated by resource extraction is not healthy and has failed to deliver sustainable development and improved livelihoods for the majority of people. The Vision says we must transition away from the current situation where large-mines and gas projects account for 80% of export revenues to a society in which they represent just 30% of gross domestic product.

To achieve that goal we need to do two things – stop the endless cycle of new mines, cutting back on the exporting of gold and other minerals and hydro-carbons, and put far more resources into other areas of the economy.

New large-scale mines like Frieda will just perpetuate a failed economic model and drive us in completely the opposite direction to Vision 2050.

According to Vision 2050 we need increased indigenous participation in the economy, we need to maintain equality amongst ethnic groups, between genders and between areas; give greater attention to rural and village development; and, above all, become self-reliant.

These are all themes that were espoused by the Constitutional Planning Committee and enshrined in the five National Goals and Directive Principles in the Constitution:

  • Integral Human Development;
  • Equality and Participation;
  • National Sovereignty and Self-Reliance;
  • Natural Resources and Environment; and
  • Papua New Guinean Ways.

These same themes were embraced in Vision 2050 as the key to enhance our socio-economic performance and improve our overall human development ranking.

The Prime Minister, on his own website, says “Our collective efforts will bring Papua New Guinea and its people 5 years closer to Vision 2050” – but supporting projects like the Frieda River mine would make that just one more broken promise.

PanAust gets Govt support
Post Courier | June 30,2016
PANAUST, the developer of the Frieda River Gold project, has been assured of the government’s commitment and support towards mine start up.  Mining Minister Byron Chan said this while congratulating the company on the submission of its Application for the Special Mining Lease (SML) recently.
“The government of PNG stands ready to dialogue and work with PanAust. All relevant government agencies are ready to provide you their services where they are required.” “I call on the West and East Sepik provincial governments, landowners, LLGs, politicians and citizens to embrace the project.
“Work with the company to ensure that this project successfully gets off the ground so that resource owners, provincial governments, national government and its citizens can benefit,” Mr Chan said.
According PANAUST, its average production is 175,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold on an annual basis over a mine life of 17 years. There is great potential to increase the mine life with further project audit, adjustments and exploration programs.
The project is one of the three significant new generation projects that are expected to contribute to the economy of Papua New Guinea. It will increase the national gross domestic product (GDP) and export earnings, provide long term government revenues and contribute to employment opportunities.
The Frieda River project will be the first major large scale resource project in East and West Sepik. This project should be the catalyst to grow other sustainable economies of the Sepik region.
“This is a priority project for the O’Neill Government as it comes on the back of the LNG project,” the minister said.