Many millions of kina have been lost through infighting among stakeholders involved in the development of the gold project on Lihir Island, New Ireland Province.

 Anitua Group of Companies Managing Director Colin Vale said the mining project had reached half its production schedule but, yet, millions of kina had gone out the window without the people seeing real benefits. He called on all stakeholders, especially the Nimamar Rural Local Level Government and the Lihir Mining Area Landowners Association, to stop their infighting and work together in the remaining mine life for Lihirians to see the real benefits from their resources.

The Anitua Group has businesses in the catering, construction, hardware, mining, drilling and security services, and merchandising with branches in East New Britain, New Ireland and Morobe provinces. Plans were underway to expand to Port Moresby and other parts of the country. “The Anitua Group is about creating a sustainable business for Lihirians before mine closure. “We have done well over the years, growing our group of companies to declare profits year after year.

However, such infighting among our major stakeholders will only delay and frustrate these successes,” Mr Vale said. He was speaking at yesterday’s book launch of “Lihir Destiny – Our Dream, Our Plan, Our Future” in Londolovit, Lihir Island, New Ireland Province. Mr Vale said while the book’s content talks about the Lihirian history and the islanders’ perspective on life before, during and after gold discovery, exploration and mining, “Lihir Destiny – Our Dream, Our Plan, Our Future” was special because it was an achievement by the Lihirian people themselves, an initiative facilitated by Mining Resources Lihir Capital Ltd. “The mine will end one day and we, at Anitua, want to work for the future.

“To help realize our job in creating a sustainable business for Lihirians so that they have an ongoing income base well into the future after mine closure, major players in this project must forget their differences and work together. “The dreams and aspirations of the Lihirian people and their leaders, past and present, now contained in the Lihir Destiny, will now come to fruition if there is no unity among these stakeholders. “It is the implementation of strategies that is a challenge for all of us as we focus on the future.

“We will be sorry if we don’t do something soon, and it must be done now,” Mr Vale told the gathering. Mr Vale’s concern was also echoed by Catholic Bishop of Kavieng Ambrose Kiapseni, who was a guest at the launch and MRL Capital Managing Director Lawrence Rausim. Mr Rausim also called on all parties to unite and work together in carrying the Lihir Dream forward so that all Lihirians can arrive at their destination. According to author James Sinclair, “Lihir Destiny – Our Dream, Our Plan, Our Future” was largely based on interviews conducted in various places with leading figures in the Lihir destiny story.

Speaking on behalf of landowner association LMALA and Lihir Sustainable Development Programme (LSDP), Lihir Sustainable Development Limited manager Joachim Malele said the Lihir Dream and Lihir Destiny are based on a doctrine put together by a small group of educated idealistic young Lihirians who wanted to see their people benefit from the gold mining project on their island. He said the efforts being made now are geared towards the full benefits that the future generations of Lihir would benefit from. “If we do not do that now, there is no point in talking about a beneficial future for our Lihirian people.

“We do it right now and our children and their children will enjoy these benefits. We have to start somewhere, and it is now,” Mr Malele said.

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