Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Video to Remind Newcrest Mining of Australia and Harmony Gold of South Africa.

Watut River Campaign Videos.

See what the foreign mining companies has done to thousands of communities along the Watut River. Are this things normal in their host countries?

If NO, than why are they allowing this to happen in Watut?

Basil to visit Middle Watut villages.

Bulolo MP Sam Basil will be taking a time out early next week to visit the communities in the Middle Watut, of Mumeng Local Level Government. Mr Basil is believe to walk the ten (10) Middle Watut villages to see for himself the struggles the riverine community have live and survive with minimal basic government services such as road, schools, clinics and also sees what the Impacts of Hidden Valley Mine has to the communities. 

President of the Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC) Mr Reuben Mete has welcome the Honorable Member's decisions and said this would be an historical visit has none of the sitting MPs of Bulolo Electorate have walked and spend time with the Middle Watut Villages in the past. Mr Basil will also present sawing machine to villages along his way.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MRA TO visit Watut River Communities regarding HVJV Compo.

The Environmental Division of the Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) will be visiting the Watut River Communities to address issues related to the Hidden Valley Joint Venture garden Compensation payment. 

The 50:50 joint venture company of Newcrest Mining of Australia and Harmony Gold of South African have been paying the villages some compensation for the garden due to Sediments wash down from its mining operation at the Hidden Valley which was situated in the headwaters of Watut River system, affecting its aquatic life, its ecosystem and the communities whose daily lives depends on it. Apart from toxic waist and sedimentation wash off, sediments are now being settle in communities along the Watut River which are situated well pass the Hidden Valley Mining Compliance Permit or mixing zone covered under the Hidden Valley Mining Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). These has now causeing the river beds to raise up affecting communities gardens, recreational sites, secret sites and causing vegetatin to dry dieback.

HVJV, the registered name or the trade mark name Morobe Mining Joint Venture - MMJV; the company set up to manage the Hidden Valley Mine by the Newcrest and Harmony Gold has been paying the communities compensation since the end of last year to February 18 this year (2011). As HVJV process of payment, Statutory Declaration and Sworn Statements were also given to the individual claimants to sign or post a fingerprint in agree that what has been paid is of final satisfaction and of full value and a paid as one-off. The payments varies with minimum being K4.00 with maximum being K26 000.00. Although majority of the communities agrees for the payment, 80% of them receive payment range between K60.00 - K300. Majority of the Middle and Lower Watut fall under this cheating trend by the HVJV and have already sign the statement. In addition to that, certain community leaders assisting the HVJV Community Liaison officers have been given allowances and special consideration in their payment. 

 The way valuation have been carried out and payment done are of serious violation to the human rights of the communities as only individuals having close relationship with  the HVJV liaison officers have been paid huge sums of money despite them having little or no garden at all as witness when the assessment was being carried out. 

With this mismanagement practices of the HVJV Officers, the local campaign group - Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC); has been running awareness to communities urging them not to sign their rights away to these foreign money hungry company. With that, UoWRC has written to MRA and Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) to looked into that matter and redress it. A total 471 claimants has to this date not signing the State Dec and have not yet receive any Compensation from the Mining Companies.

A team of MRA Officers haded by Mr John Mosoro will be headed to Watut River Communities next week to see that these matter is resolve as soon as possible to allow mining development in Hidden Valley to go ahead without any disturbance. The office of MRA in Wau has been task to facilitate the visit and UoWRC are gearing to face the Mining Regulators. 

HVJV garden compensation payment skipped UoWRC members.

More than 400 individual claims of Watut river communities along Watut river have been left out as villages decided not to sign the Statutory Declaration and making Sworn Statements that were being bulldozed by Hidden Valley Joint Venture (HVJV) Community liaison officers. This has cause them to miss out in the current Newcrest and Harmony HVJV garden compensation payment. The community have demanded an explanation of these two documents eversince however, HVJV offices have refused to explained this to them hence they strongly believe the documents might taken away their birth rights and jeopardies their future lawsuit. 

Tiffany Nonggorr, a Lawyer engaged by the Bulolo District JDBPC to assist the Watut River Communities in their bid to sue Newcrest and Harmony for the Environmental Damage and Watut River Rehabilitation have last week informing the communities that the Newcrest and Harmony Lawyers have mention the statutory declaration and the sworn statement in as their defense file. This contradicts earlier comments made by the HVJV General Manage Mr David Wissink that the State Decs has nothing to do with the future legal claims and communities should sign them without having doubt.

The Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC) have already written a latter to the Minister for Mining Hon John Pundari MP, Environment and Conservation Minister Hon Benny Allan and Managing Director for Mineral Resource Authority Mr Kepas Walli  urging them to look into how HVJV has been doing in terms of Compensation and Environment and Mining Regulations Plan. The also demanded that  these respictive Regulatory bodies should intervene instruct HVJV to rearrange the payments for those that have been missing out.

Bulolo MP Hon Sam Basil has also send an email to the Community Affairs Manager of HVJV Mr Stanley Komunt to revisit those outstanding payments and address them. He also suggest that in case were HVJV refuse to made payments in relation to the signing of the State Decs, than the HVJV should send copies of the valuation calculated as per the Valua General Rate so his District should pay these claims.   

Postponing of the Watut River Forum in Lae.

The Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC) has postponed its initial decision to stage the Watut River Forum in Lae on Friday, 25th March, 2011.   

This decision was done after Morobe  political leaders including Governor Luther Wenge and Minister for Health and HIV AIDS Hon Sasa Zibe had sattle there differences with the Bulolo MP Hon Sam Basil during the last Tutumang. In that meeting, Hon Sasa Zibe had mention that he has instructed Wampar LLG President Mr. Peter Namus to withdrew all Wampar Councilors out of the court battle against Hidden Valley Joint Venture (HVJV) for environmental damage. In respond, Mr Basil agrees to remove all Lower Watut plaintiffs out of the court proceedings and advice them to seek their political leaders for assistance. However, Mr Basil says the current court proceedings was the mine to be more responsible and to compensate the villages along watut river who have been impacted due to its mine waist being dumped since construction and site casting practices  from 2005 till late 2009. 

UoWRC executives have agree to stage the forum early next month to get views and responds from its members within the Huon Gulf Electorate and also to will invite M.P, Government officials and company executives to attend and listen to their concerns.