Governor: ‘The safety of the Sepik River is non-negotiable’

East Sepik Governor, Alan Bird

Bird Needs More Views On Frieda Mine

Post Courier | January 17, 2019

EAST Sepik Governor Allan Bird will be seeking wider
consultations on the proposed Frieda Mine for a more informed,
truthful and transparent decision.

“Before we talk about Frieda consultations, I want everyone to
know that I have listened to both sides of the argument and I have
decided that the issue is too important for a small group or
individual to take a decision in isolation,” Mr Bird said

“Let us start by thinking about the Sepik River people for a
moment, more particularly where we see them in 20 or 30 years time.
Where do they see themselves in that timeframe?

“Will they still be fisher folk? Living a semi subsistence
life, selling carvings and other artifacts and performing
traditional dances for tourists? Or will more of them desire a
decent education, a career or start a business and move to live in
a town or city? The current generation might be happy living the
traditional lifestyle but what about the younger generation? Is it
fair to them that those of us on land see them as suppliers of fish
for our sustenance? Is that where they should remain?

“Would a large scale mine, managed safely and properly add
value to this process of change or badly managed do the

“There are no easy answers. Perhaps the answer lies in
between. I have no doubt the River people are best placed to tell
us their views of the future.”

Mr Bird said that he expected the East Sepik provincial
government to do the right thing by everyone, to be fair and
transparent, to give each stakeholder an opportunity, without fear,
without intimidation to discuss their concerns (pros and cons)
regarding Frieda Mine.

He said the provincial government would to take into account the
desires of Telefomin Sepiks, Kopar Sepiks and every Sepik in
between. “Let us not exclude PanAust as a stakeholder,” he

“This year we will have a team of experts look at the EIS and
the mine development proposal. On a personal level my only concern
is the safety of the river. Anything else, be they benefits for
river people, landowners, etc are negotiable.

“The safety of the Sepik River is non-negotiable.”

Source: FS – Mining B.
Governor: ‘The safety of the Sepik River is non-negotiable’

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