17 May 2013

Draft Minerals Law issued by Minister for Natural Resources as Prime Minister accuses ConicoPhillips of stealing the country's oil and gas wealth

Minister for Natural Resources Alfredo Pires
ETLJB 17 May 2013 - East Timor's Minister for Natural Resources Mr. Alfredo Pires has officially launched the draft of the country’s minerals law that will be submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval, TVTL reported yesterday.

“This is our draft law and it will be sent to the Council of Ministers for approval. With this law, we can protect our natural resources, such as gold, magnesium and others,” Pires told journalists.

Minister Pires affirmed they would also consult with civil society organisations about this draft law so that they can provide input.

The National Director for Petroleum, Roberta Soares, is also reported to have said this law would benefit companies that underetake exploration the country’s natural resources in the future.

Meanwhile, Diario Nacional also reported that the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has said that Timor-Leste had a problem with the ConocoPhillips company that has explored and exploited oil and gas in the Timor Sea, accusing the company of wanting to continue creating economic imperialism to steal the wealth of Timor-Leste.

Gusmao said ConocoPhillips did not pay tax to the Government but wanted to continue stealing Timorese wealth. Therefore Timor-Leste would no longer tolerate ConocoPhillips. 
Source: Televizaun Timor-Leste 16 May 2013 and Diario Nacional 16 May 2013 English translations published by the East Timor Media Development Centre. Edited by Warren L. Wright
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