Port Moresby | The Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) has successfully completed an Awareness Exercise on the Clan Bank Account Opening for the Hides PDL1 beneficiaries in the PNG LNG Project in Hela province. 

The completion of this phase of the Clan Account Opening Program is a testament to months of groundwork and engagement with the community. 

The Awareness Exercise ensures vital information and requirements around the process are communicated to the landowners. It also gives an opportunity to landowners to ask questions around the process. 

The awareness exercise was carried out over a week (15/04/24 – 19/04/24) in the five regions namely, Tuguba, Hiwa, Tugu Tapiria, Kamea Kera, and Habono. 

Only the JP Karai Region was left out due to an ongoing legal dispute before the National Court. 

Key stakeholders involved in the awareness exercise include the Department of Petroleum, the Bank of South Pacific (BSP), the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC), ExxonMobil, Santos, Hela Provincial Government, police, and the PNG Defence Force.  

Speaking to the landowners in the villages, Mr. Bartholomew Yacop, General Manager of MRDC’s External Affairs Division explained that there were four parts to the entire program. They include the Awareness, Collection of Clan Meeting Minutes, the Opening of Clan Bank Accounts, and the Election of Directors to the Hides PDL1 landowner company. 

“MRDC is committed to ensure that the clan bank account opening process will be transparent and independent, and your benefits are coordinated and paid in a timely manner”, said Mr. Yacop. 

He emphasised that MRDC was only the process administrator and facilitator of this exercise.  

The Bank South Pacific (BSP) is the relevant agency responsible for the opening of the clan bank accounts while the PNG Electoral Commission (PNGEC) will administer and conduct the election of the Directors, he said.  

Following the completion of the Awareness Exercise, the Department of Petroleum will collect minutes and resolutions from each of the Clans. These minutes and resolutions should clearly state the appointment of clan executives and the signatories to their account. 

All accounts opened for the purpose of benefits delivery will be held and operated in Tari and nowhere else. This is a standing position of MRDC to pay all benefits to BSP or banks operating in project impact district or province. 

The Clan Bank Account Opening Program will commence on April 29, 2024, by BSP. 

A BSP team has mobilised into Hides to assist with this exercise. 

Mr. Yacob said the Awareness Exercise went smoothly during the week as landowners cooperated well and expressed their keen desire to complete the process and start receiving the benefits that they have been waiting for over 10 years for. 

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