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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Loggers Allegedly Digging Up Coral Reef In PNG
West New Britain operations ‘totally destroyed’ pristine ecosystem

By Haiveta Kivia

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 31, 2013) – A logging company operating in a remote area in Kandrian- Gloucester District in West New Britain Province is digging up coral reefs and using it as gravel for roads it is constructing in Papua New Guinea. Pictures given to the Post-Courier by a villager near Geren Base camp where a logging company called Unirise Investment Limited (UIL) is operating, show an excavator parked on the reefs digging it up and shoveling it onto a dump truck. The Post-Courier tried to contact UIL to find out what they were doing to the reef but the company is not listed in the PNG telephone directory. Telephone number 323 0222 was obtained from Investment Promotion Authority and the Post-Courier continuously called the number but no one answered the phone. Lolo Development Corporation, the landowner company involved with Sunrise, is also not listed and IPA does not have any phone numbers listed for the company. Telikom PNG Directory Assistance also does not have any numbers for the two companies.

According to a media statement released by a village leader, UIL operates three logging camps in the district and they are digging up the coral reefs at Geren damaging the environment, thus the matter should be brought to the attention of the national government as soon as possible.

"They are throwing logs onto the reefs and using the dug up coral as gravel to construct causeway to the edge of the reef to load logs onto ships (for export)," he said.

He said the company has totally destroyed a pristine reef system in the area that took years to grow.

The man said forestry officers at Kandrian district have not even intervened to correct this blatant destruction to the environment. He sent a media statement to IPA asking to check if Lolo Development Corporation, the landowner company representing the Geren Base Camp area people, does have a registered office, and if so, where it is located.

"I have observed that there is no landowner company office in the area at the base camp, in Kimbe or in the district. Where are they?" the leader said.

He is now appealing to Kandrian-Glocester MP and Opposition spokesman Joseph Lelang to intervene and also for the National Forest Authority and the Department of Environmental and Conservation to investigate the operation of the company.

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