11 May 2009

Madang Governor says cultural differences a key factor in tensions at PNG nickel mine

3:40 pm on 11 May 2009

The Governor of Papua New Guinea's Madang province says cultural differences between local workers and Chinese at the Ramu nickel mine continue to present a major issue for the massive project.

Sir Arnold Amet's comment comes after a violent rampage by a small group of local workers at the construction site for the Chinese government-run mine.

It left three Chinese workers critically injured, dozens of project vehicles destroyed and accomodation blocks damaged.

The violence was sparked by misinformation that a PNG national had died after being injured by a tractor on site.

Sir Arnold admits that dynamics in the relatively new working relationship between the Chinese and Papua New Guineans have become an ongoing problem.

"Papua New Guineans who have been accustomed to working with the western companies... but the Chinese are new partners from the major Asian developing countries that bring a new dimension to working relationships. So that is a major aspect of these ongoing tensions that we must continue to deal with."

Sir Arnold Amet.