Thursday, April 7, 2011

Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold Mining Companies pays Lousy Compensation

 Union cites flaws in compo to Watuts
Many of the rural villages received K100 – K300 compensation with the lowest cheque payment done by the mining company being K4.

RECENT COMPENSATION described as “nuisance” payments by the Hidden Valley mine to communities along the Watut River were not conducted properly.
The Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC) president Reuben Mete has claimed this is because the mine’s community liaison officers allegedly failed to explain the ‘Statutory Declaration Form’ that they forced the communities to sign with a sworn statement, fearing that they might sell their individual rights to the foreign mining companies.
UoWRC further criticised HVJV of allegedly bullying the local community along the Watut River over the recent compensation payments for food gardens, cash crops, houses (improvements) and riverside alluvial gold mining backdated since 2007.
Mr Mete said the payments were a nuisance with many human rights violations and serious breach to the mining and regulation principles of compensation.
He alleged there was a serious misconduct by the HVJV community liaison officers with false pretence claims that needed to be seriously looked into under the relevant mining and environmental regulations of the State.
He was responding to a letter UoWRC received from the Mining Minister, Environment and Conservation Minister and the Mineral Resource Authority informing them about the nuisance practices by the Newcrest Mining Limited, one of South East Asian biggest mining company and the Harmony Gold Mine company, the world’s fifth largest gold mining company and their alleged bullying techniques to downplay the rural communities of Watut River. Hidden Valley Joint Venture (HVJV) is a 50-50 joint venture between Newcrest of Australia and HGM.
Mr Mete confirmed that 471 ardent claimants along the Widipos, Samsam-Plenkwa and Baiune in Mumeng LLG constituency in the Bulolo District have refused to participate in the HVJV payments as community liaison officers with provincial and LLG officers assisting the mining companies, have failed to explain the ‘Statutory Declaration Form’.
The union’s newly appointed secretary, Chris Wena also alleged that the officers were bullying certain communities to sign those HVJV legal documents which could jeopardise any further compensation claims.
According to Mr Wena, he was present when the final batch of HVJV compensation payments were made early last month, and claimed that he witnessed certain individuals walking off with K200-K300 cheques. This was believed that was because of their alleged association with the individual leaders that were being used that time or with the HVJV community liaisons officers. It was because many of them lived and worked in Lae and had no garden for assessment. However the manner in which they walked away with cheque payments of even over K10,000 was highly suspicious of misconduct by the staff of mining companies.
Many of the rural villages received K100 – K300 compensation with the lowest cheque payment done by the mining company being K4.
The union is now a waiting the response from the relevant mining and environmental regulators as 471 of its member’s claims were still waiting release by HVJV. Mr Mete confirmed that certain communities along the Upper, Middle, Lower Watut areas have refused to participate in the assessment carried out by HVJV.

1 comment:

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