Monday, October 20, 2008

Wau-Bulolo to receive 50% of Hidden Valley royalties

Morobe Governor Luther Wenge says Bulolo district will receive 50% of royalties from the Hidden Valley gold mine when it starts pouring gold next year.

He revealed this in an interview today (Monday, October 20, 2008) after weeks of the Morobe provincial government being locked in a row with the Bulolo district over royalties from Hidden Valley.

Bulolo MP Sam Basil wants 50% of those royalties to be set aside for his district, particularly to develop street lighting and water supply in Wau and Bulolo, and his argument with Mr Wenge over this has made international headlines.

The Morobe government is set to get 36% of royalties, amounting to about K12 million a year, when Hidden Valley starts pouring gold next year.

Mr Wenge said that the Morobe provincial joint budget & priorities committee, made up of all 10 Morobe MPs, met last Friday and resolved that half of Hidden Valley royalties coming to the Morobe government should be given to Bulolo district.

“What we’ve decided is to split the royalties 50/50,” he said.

“Fifty per cent will go for towards the development of Wau and Bulolo towns.

“We don’t want to see Wau and Bulolo having a repeat of what happened in the colonial days when they were left with nothing after the miners left.

“We want good hospitals and good services in Wau and Bulolo.

“They will be growth centres.

“The remaining 50% coming to the Morobe provincial government will be used to invest in education for our future generations and also in agriculture.

“There are exciting times ahead but we have to be wise in our decision-making.

“I challenge the people to invest their money in sustainable developments like agriculture.”

MrWenge also admitted that provincial capital Lae was undergoing massive development as a direct result of ongoing mining and prospecting in the province.

Lae City is out of land right now,” he said.

“There is a lot of property development going on, especially in residential and commercial.”

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