Log exports reach new peak despite government promises
Papua New Guinea’s raw log exports reached a new high in 2014 despite numerous government policies on sustainable development, increasing downstream processing, ending round log exports and canceling the SABL leases.
Much of the increase in log exports has come from clear-fell logging in Special Agriculture and Business Lease area – something the Commission of Inquiry described as illegal and which the government promised to stop in 2013.
In 2014 log exports reached 3.8 million cubic metres, after growing steadily from 2.3 million in 2005.
In all 30% of log exports were from areas logged under Forest Clearance Authorities issued under SABL. The logging in these areas is being allowed to continue despite the clear evidence these land/resource deals were illegal, particularly as as they are not based on the approval of the customary land owners, and there was certainly no free and informed consent.
Nearly all the logs, some 88% or 3.34 million cubic metres, was shipped to China for domestic use and re-export as processed timber and finished products.
Taun is the timber with the largest export volume recorded (around 16% of the total) followed by kwila (8%).
West New Britain is the largest source of logs exports – accounting for 23% of the total – followed by East New Britain (18%, largely from SABLs). Then West Sepik (17%).
The largest single logging project, by far, is Rimbunan Hijau’s Sigite Mukus operation, in East New Britain. This is an SABL/FCA under the company name Gilford Limited.
With the SABLs, why does the Govt continue to take no action to support the landowners, when foreign-owned enterprises (in bed with some local leaders) have been handed hundreds of millions of kina of assets belonging to our own citizens, for virtually nothing?