MRL Capital Ltd Chairman Mark Soipang said the ‘Lihir Destiny’ envisages the locals’ dreams to be able to sustainable themselves after the mine ceases. He said it also includes informing corporate clients of its vision to become equity partners in creating something sustainable. “The book is about the history and dream that is traced back to before the mine. When the mine came it was an opportunity for us (Lihirians) to modernize that dream.\"
\"It is an opportunity for us to make use of the cash that we get from compensation and to do something sustainable that we can have after the mine is gone,” he said. MRL Capital is the trustee of the Lihirians equity trust whose assets now comprise proceeds of the sale of shares held for the Lihirians in the then Lihir Gold Ltd. Soipang said these proceeds have been invested in real estate, trading shares, and other liquid assets in Papua New Guinea and Australia.
He added that “the intention to invest serves two main, long term purposes; one is to generate sufficient annual income to pay distributions to eligible Lihirians and the other is to support education, health and social welfare programs targeting the beneficiaries of the Trust, who are clan members of the Unawos, Tinetalgo, Tengawom, Nissal, Lamatlik, and Nikama clans of the Lihir Group of Islands.\"
“Under the Lihirians Sustainable Development Plan, the vision of the clans is to see financial independence of all Lihirians after closure of the mine. This is the basis of the Lihir Destiny. All Lihirian entities including MRL Capital are obliged to create income generating opportunities for individual clan members to participate in efforts to achieve the vision.”
Trust assets which MRL manages was worth around K520 million as the end of the last financial year.
Story by Gynnnie Kero
Photographer Rocky Roe (from left), author James Sinclaire and MRL Capital Ltd chairman, Mark Soipang.
Lihir Destiny Book Launch.