PNG Environment Minister to send officers to investigate and establish the level of pollution and environmental destruction that occur by foreign companies.
Papua New Guinea Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Wera Mori says he will not allow foreign resource developers in this country to operate like cowboys and destroy the environment.
He issued a strong warning to resource developers in the country to adhere and operate within the laws of the country as he would be hard on every company that thinks they can operate like a cowboy with no laws governing their operations.
Mori said every developer should work within the confines of the laws of the country in respect to the environment.
“I will let no stone unturned and disqualify environmental permits if the foreigners involved in the extractive industries are found to breach the laws and operating like cowboys,” he said.
Mori said in Parliament on Friday when responding to questions without notice from Oro Governor Gary Juffa, who asked if the Minister is aware of the conduct of a company based in the Collingwood Bay area that is alleged to be operating illegally and destroying the environment.
He alleged that the company received a timber permit through forged documents and a fraudulent submission, which was also confirmed through an investigation carried out, leading to the arrest of the provincial forest officer.
Juffa said the operation of the company was stopped on three different occasions but it continues to defy the orders and was still logging, resulting in environmental pollution and destruction.
Mori said he is aware of the issue and it is of great concern for him when the laws of the country are breached by foreign companies that come and operate under dubious circumstances.
“When this matter was brought to my attention, I directed the managing director to investigate the issue and if found to be true, then to take necessary action, as expected by our people, and that is to suspend the licence and terminate, in consultation with the Minister for Forest,” he said.
“I will send officers to investigate and establish the status of the level of pollution and environmental destruction that is taking place.
“If need be, that permit will be terminated.
“Now that the permit was suspended, we will leave no stone unturned and this must be a lesson to any others in the extractive industries.
“If they cannot comply with the law of this country, then I will impose a maximum penalty that will lead to the termination of their licence.
“It is about time we must reflect our interest as leaders in the Parliament representing the people.
We cannot allow the laws of this country to be abused by the so-called foreign investors,” he said.
This story was produced by Jeffrey Elapa, published at Post Courier on 16 August 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.
Banner: Papua New Guinea Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Wera Mori. Photo: Post Courier