4 Sep 2012

Plans for geothermal development on Vanuatu's Efate criticised

4:23 am on 4 September 2012

A young business leader in Vanuatu is shrugging off warnings from two local chiefs' spokesmen after they accused him of misleading people in Takara and Emau over a local geothermal energy issue.

Lopez Adams has spoken out against the venture of the Australian geothermal energy company KUTh, which wants to develop a power plant on Efate Island to replace the island's diesel energy.

The spokesmen of the two paramount chiefs of Takara, Kaltilia Albert and Don George, told the Vanuatu Daily Post that Adams is promoting confusion and getting in the way of positive development for the areas.

But Mr Adams says the company is using money to influence the support of local chiefs and government, and will leave young people in Takara and Emau with zero land rights.

"We, as the custom land owners, own the land and the resources in and around it. We are not even part of the business at all; not a single share. Where does that place us, now and in the future? We have zero power: we can be kicked out, played around like fools, and [be made] strangers in our own place."

The Managing Director of Kuth, David McDonald, says he expects the company will be given the go-ahead to begin geothermal exploration after the Vanuatu elections in October.