Multi-national agrees to re-negotiate PNG land deal

6:14 pm on 17 May 2018

The subsidiary of a major Malaysian logging company has agreed in mediation to renegotiate land deals in Papua New Guinea's East New Britain.

Logging road, Pomio, East New Britain.

A road created by a SABL operation in Pomio, East New Britain. Photo: Global Witness

Gilford Ltd, which is wholly owned by Rimbunan Hijau, has been in mediation with landowners over the Sigite Mukus project in West Pomio, with the assistance of the Catholic Archdiocese in Rabaul.

The company, through a Special Agricultural and Business Lease, had been harvesting trees and planting oil palms in three of the four areas, which together total more than 55,000 hectares.

Work at the fourth area, Sigite Unung, had not begun.

Archbishop Francesco Panfilo said as well as environmental damage the re-negotiation, to be completed by 2020, has to cover a number of issues.

"And that includes that there has to be transparency, there has to be proper communication, there has to be a review of the rental benefits, the royalties, the contribution to infrastructure and community development - things that were not present in the previous agreement. So that has to be done before the year 2020," said Archbishop Francesco Panfilo.

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