10 Nov 2008

Talks over work permit issues continue between RamuNico and PNG Government

4:53 pm on 10 November 2008

The Chinese company building the Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea's Madang province has reiterated its call for more timely issuance of short-term work permits by government agencies.

Talks over work permit issues between the company, RamuNico, and PNG's department of Labour and Employment, continue in Port Moresby today.

Labour officials are looking at the paperwork of around 150 Chinese workers who were arrested in last week's raids at the Ramu project by PNG police and immigration officials.

A spokesman for RamuNico, Frank Mills, says the project's management has been exercising some discretion to bring people in on a short-term basis.

He says there is a backlog of permit applications which should be fast-tracked so that the whole situation is regularised.

"But at the same time, the project has in principle written to the Mineral Resources Authority to say the state is not observing its obligations under the Ramu Nickel Development Agreement - that is to provide timely government services in terms of permitting and other things that are the state's responsibility."

Frank Mills