Welcome back my readers and followers.
For the last 25 days, starting on June 5th, I took a trip around parts of Papua New Guinea with three Solomon Islanders and two Australians. Four of us flew in from Honiara to Port Moresby while two flew in from Brisbane and joined us in Port Moresby.
On the 6th of June we flew to Tabubil which took us 2 hours 15 minutes but the heavy cloud wouldn’t let us land on the airstrip, the Pilot tried several times but couldn’t see anything, so we flew down to Kiunga where we all got off.
The mission of the team was to visit the chosen mining provinces in PNG and talk with the communities and the mining people about the benefits and the effects of mining and than produce a DVD to give free to Solomon Islanders who are in the process of negotiating for mining, so that the people will get a better deal from their resources with the lessons learnt by neighbouring Melanesians brothers and sisters.
From Kiunga Airport we contacted Samuel our contact and told him that we were dropped off in Kiunga. He came with a Guest House Van to pick us up and after sorting out things we hired a four-wheel truck to go up to Tabubil. The rivers were all flooded and very high, not as usual someone told us.
We drove to Tabubil in the rain, crossing over flowing Rivers and reached Tabubil in the afternoon. We went straight to the white house and Leonard invited us in for the briefing from the Ok Tedi mining people.
We spent about 3 hours with them; the Ok Tedi Boss came in for a short briefing. He was honest and admitted that they totally destroyed the Fly River system and trying their best to assist the villagers along the Fly River bands. We spent the night in Tabubil in one of the Company houses. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to visit the landowners, who are relocated, because where their village was there is this big hole now.
We went back to Kiunga after taking some footage of the Ok Tedi river where 1000 thousand tones of toxic waste are dumped every single day. In the briefing the Company people told us that millions of dollars are put to the development, education, hospitals and housing, but the story along the Fly River is opposite.