Community Leaders at the Frieda River Project site during the virtual forum.
On Friday 24 November 2021, Frieda River Limited hosted a virtual Community Leaders Forum with representatives of Telefomin and Ambunti district administration and leaders from seven host villages at the Frieda River Project site.
The Company has hosted these Forums since 2014 when it acquired its majority shareholding in the Frieda River Project.
In 2020 however; due to COVID-19, the Company was unable to safely mobilise stakeholders to and from the Project site resulting in the suspension of the forums. This was the first Community Leaders Forum the Company has held since the COVID-19-imposed hiatus.
Also in attendance was Papua New Guinea Conservation Environment and Protection Authority representative, Dr Lemas Pangum. During the meeting, Dr Pangum presented an update on the status of the independent peer review of the Frieda River Project’s environment and engineering studies that were submitted to the state regulator in 2019.
The meeting afforded Company representatives an opportunity to provide an update on the independent peer review process, discuss the revision of social investment program policies and plan for key activities to be undertaken in 2022.
At the end of the forum, Telefomin District Deputy Administrator, Anslem Mani thanked the Company for its positive and ongoing support to the local communities, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Telefomin district recognises the ongoing contribution Frieda River Limited has made to our communities, particularly supporting government programs in health and education in one of the most isolated Sepik regions,” Mr Mani said.
Frieda River Limited Director, Phil McCormack went on to advise that the Company would continue to support health and education initiatives in country.
“In 2020, the Company contributed over US$60,000 (K210,600) to community development programs in Papua New Guiana. An additional US$75,000 (K263,250) was expended on the use of helicopters to deliver programs to our landowning communities which were inaccessible by road.
“These programs focused on improving health and education services and capacity-building, with a greater emphasis on the maintenance and establishment of infrastructure to support these programs.
“Our commitment to supporting communities in Papua New Guinea is unwavering. We will continue to work with the Government of Papua New Guinea and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that all regulatory processes during this permitting phase of the Project are followed,” Phil said.
Frieda River Limited looks forward to hosting more Community Leaders Forums in 2022 in line with the Government of Papua New Guinea’s COVID-19 control measures to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees, communities and key stakeholders.