FRIEDA MINE- Is That How We Will Take Back PNG?

Dr Lawrenc Sause | Auna Melo Independent Blog | May 12 2024

Look closely at the extractive industry in this country–minning, gas and oil. How much have foreign corporate giants been getting and how much have we the people been receiving through our government’s participation? Why should tens of thousands of people’s lives–in this case tens of thousands living along the Sepik River–be made destitute and their lives destroyed forever just because of foreign corporate greed? Yes, not our government and not us the people! And yet the story is that we are doing this to “develop” PNG.  I mean, look closely, why are we taking back Porgera? And have we seen at least a trickle from the economic rent of the LNG project?

Our present modus operandi is that our resources are “developed” not for us but for large corporations! We only get drips and drabs. Is that what we are willing to get from what we own? Really? Come on now! Until we figure out a way of getting the most from what we own, we need to take a step back and pause. We must figure out a way and quickly we must.

The case of Frieda (where the headwaters of the Sepik River is found) and the Sepik people is unique and unparallel in any project of like manner in this country. It holds far-reaching deadly ramifications for tens of thousands.

Unlike elsewhere in PNG, thousands of riverine communities are built along the Sepik River, allowing tens of thousands of people to depend wholly and exclusively on the river. Thousands more from the outside surrounding communities depend on the river as their food basket. This has been the case since time immemorial. There is no other place to go to other than along the Sepik River. Once it is dead, the people die. It’s simple as that.

A zero hazard or contamination from the size, location and type of project like Frieda is nothing more than sweet talk bullcrap. It has always been and will be. We have seen it the world over. And there can be no substitute for a free-flowing, uncontaminated river, period.

We must put the lives of tens of thousands of our people ahead of profit. It is time to stand up for our people and say NO to corporate greed! It is time to truly #TakeBackPNG, not to destroy our people’s lives forever!