"We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others".
- Papua New GuineaNational Goals and Directive Principles
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
Analyst Warns of Extreme Violence as Tensions Increase at PNG LNG
In the Highlands region, PNG soldiers have been deployed where security problems are threatening two major resource projects. Landowner disputes have disrupted key construction work in Hela’s Hides area for Exxon Mobil’s LNG project, while Porgera’s gold mine has enduring complications related to illegal mining. Although currently there is no state of emergency in the region, troops are likely to continue assisting police despite local complaints regarding the military presence. The timing of deployment of the 30 soldiers to the region is indicative of continuing concern that growing lawlessness will deter foreign investors.
The risk that tribal conflict will disrupt preparations for the LNG project in the Southern Highlands in the short-term remains ever present, and will increasingly intensify as the project continues. There is evidence of amplified unrest in PNG as rival groups seek to capitalise on the increased capital flowing into the country. Attacks on the facilities directly linked with the LNG project are likely over the period of construction as clans try to use force to extract concessions or, more likely, fight with rival groups over what has already been allocated in terms of royalties. Increased criminality in the short and medium term is also likely. Further disruptions to the projects will likely be threatened unless contracts are negotiated and outstanding payments to landowners are received.
With the most significant increase to gross national income to occur with the production and sale of LNG in 2015, controversy surrounding the project is also likely to peak around this time. The major benefit of the PNG LNG project to the national and provincial governments and landowners in the country will come from distributions of mining and petroleum tax revenue, mining royalties and dividends on equity. However, due to the increasing frequency of attacks, unfulfilled landowner contracts and allegations of corruption, with an increase in revenue, there is also likely to be an increase in violence in the country.
This will likely be exemplified through the increased targeting of expatriate workers, protests at various project sites, work stoppages and storming of government offices, including the potential taking of hostages.