Prime Minister Hon. James Marape convened a crucial meeting on Friday, August 18, 2023, with Hela leaders to tackle pressing matters concerning the supply of electricity from the PNG LNG Project at Hides to the New Porgera Mine. The discussions also encompassed the crucial matter of land ownership in relation to the power pylons erected along the route.
Highlighting the urgency of these issues, Prime Minister Marape emphasised the need for immediate resolution before the anticipated reopening of the New Porgera Mine.
Prominent Hela leaders present during the meeting included Governor Hon. Philip Undialu, Koroba-Kopiago MP Hon. William Bando, and Komo-Hulia MP Hon. Daniel Tindipu. The meeting was also attended by key government figures such as Petroleum and Energy Minister Minister Hon. Kerenga Kua, Mining Minister Hon. Sir Ano Pala, National Planning and Monitoring Minister Hon. Rainbo Paita, Vice-Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on State Negotiation Hon. Jimmy Maladina, as well as representatives from relevant government departments and agencies.
Addressing the context of the discussions, the Hela stakeholders, acting through the Hela Provincial Government, submitted a comprehensive documentation in September 2021 regarding the New Porgera Mine, outlining 16 demands, of which eight were identified as non-negotiable.
One of the pivotal non-negotiable demands involves the review of the Hides Gas-to-Electricity Memorandum-of-Agreement for PDL 1. This review is integral to ensuring an uninterrupted power supply to the New Porgera Mine. Another key issue addressed is Clause 9.6 of the PDL 1 PNG License-based Benefit Sharing Agreement (LBBSA). Subject to a National Executive Council Decision, this clause involves the potential transfer of ownership of the Hides power plant to the Hela Provincial Government and the respective landowner clans. The unbroken power supply from Hides to the New Porgera Mine is not just a facet of ongoing mine operations but also a strategic necessity for the broader facilities.
Prime Minister Marape reassured the assembled Hela leaders that the landowners of the area where power pylons are erected between Hides and the New Porgera Mine would not be excluded from the benefits. He underscored that the Porgera Mine has historically been powered by a significant 70 megawatts of electricity from the Hides facility.
“The Hela Provincial Government has raised valid concerns regarding the lack of substantial review concerning landowner matters in relation to power generation,” Prime Minister Marape stated following the meeting.
He further announced that the task of examining power-generation perspectives has been entrusted to Minister Kua and his team.
“An agreement has been reached to organise a dedicated development forum in Tari to comprehensively address the updated landowner issues specifically linked to the New Porgera startup, ensuring that these concerns are adequately communicated to the government,” Prime Minister Marape said,
“This meeting signifies a concerted effort by the government and Hela leaders to collaboratively address these critical energy supply and land ownership concerns, underscoring the commitment to efficient and equitable resource management in Papua New Guinea.”