Papua New Guinea government joins Greenpeace in condemning logging

Following action against destructive Kiunga- Aiambak project

Feature story - 15 May, 2002
Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, has joined Greenpeace and landowners in condemning the destructive logging project Kiunga Aiambak.

Greenpeace action against Malaysian logging company Concord Pacific in PNG.

Yesterday Sir Mekere released an official statement saying, "the Kiunga- Aiambak project, involving Concord Pacific Ltd and a landowner company, should never have occurred."

Sir Mekere also said:

- The full court hearing is scheduled for the end of this week;

- The Acting Attorney-General will join the case in support of the Forest Authority;

- Allegations of human rights abuses against resource owners would be


- This logging project will be one of the first operations to be examined under the forthcoming independent review of projects; and

- Further extensions to this project will neither be permitted, nor valid.

Greenpeace welcomed these decisions, but Brian Brunton, Greenpeace forest campaigner said, "Greenpeace wants the Kiunga Aiambak logs currently at Umuda Island to be seized by the government. They should be either returned to their rightful owners, or the logs sold by the Forest Authority and the monies received paid into a trust account pending final court proceedings."

Overnight, Malaysian logging company Concord Pacific towed the log barge away from the MV Hua Yang after sighting the Prime Minister´s statement condemning the logging operations. Greenpeace climbers left the ship´s cranes more than 48 hours after they first climbed them.

Greenpeace activists will stand watch over the remaining logs until the court makes its ruling on the legality of the project on Friday.

The Greenpeace activity began on Sunday afternoon, when volunteers boarded the MV Hua Yang, which was loading Kiunga Aiambak logs to take to China. Most of the logs are exported to China, Japan and Korea, where they are used to make furniture, flooring and cheap plywood.

Landowners say the Kiunga Aiambak logging project has brought them social, environmental and economic problems.