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Cover photo: Markham Valley landowners ready to address the press to show their support for PNG Biomass project

Five landowners from the Markham Valley travelled to Port Moresby this week to hold meetings with PNG Power and Government Departments to ask questions over the delay with the biomass project to which they have committed land.

At a press conference yesterday at Airways hotel, Chairman Sam Meyab of the Zif Faring Business Group, said that the landowner delegation is in Port Moresby to show their support for the PNG Biomass project and to confront PNG Power, the Minister of Energy, the Minister of Treasury over the delay. [full statement available here]

“We know that the biomass project has all licences and permits, all approvals, and a signed power purchasing agreement with PNG Power. We know that the biomass project sponsor Oil Search Limited wants this project to go ahead. We are ready with our land and trees. The project is ready to go, but what is stopping it?,“ said Meyab.

The Markham Valley landowners have sent letters to PNG Power and the Minister for Treasury and Minister for Energy to request meetings to deliver their ‘landowner support package’ for the project and discuss the reasons for the wavering support from Government.

“We are here to ask questions from our Government. Tell us, what is delaying our biomass project? By signing the power purchasing agreement with PNG Biomass in 2015 the State now has made a commitment. This is a commitment to bring 30 MW biomass energy to the Ramu Grid, to drive inclusive economic growth for the Markham Valley people, a commitment to a better world of clean and renewable energy. The State should honour its commitment,” according to Meyab.

The five landowners from the Markham Valley representing over 60 families that are participating in the PNG Biomass project
The five landowners from the Markham Valley representing over 60 families that are participating in the PNG Biomass project

The landowner’s support letter is signed by over 60 landowners stating that they are giving their “unreserved support for continuing of the Biomass plantation (tree planting) project” and call upon the Government “to honour your SME policies and take this ‘Green Energy’ project as an impact project for your Government’s Vision 2010-2050 strategy”.

The landowners said they suspect to know what is causing the delay.

“We know what is going on. Read the newspapers. The politicians think coal is the answer. We landowners of the Markham Valley, people of Papua New Guinea, we do not want coal-fired power or coal mining in our country. We want a clean, renewable, healthy future for our children. Coal has no place in PNG,” proclaimed Meyab.

Chairman Meyab also made clear what the landowners of the Markham Valley want.

“We want renewable biomass to power our homes, not dirty coal. We want healthy lives, not a polluting coal power plant in Lae. We want our Government to honour its commitments; to us, to the developer, to the country, to the world,” said Meyab.

The landowners had a clear call to action: “Now is the time to show the world that PNG is leading the fight against climate change – APEC and the world are watching!”

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