20 Sep 2010

Delay in PNG Ramu trial as landowners sued for security over costs

7:30 pm on 20 September 2010

The trial in a Papua New Guinea court case which has halted the Ramu Nickel project in Madang province has been delayed a day due to last minute motions filed by the Government and the mine operator.

The trial reviewing the validity of the planned deep sea tailings disposal system for the nickel mine was due to get underway tomorrow.

An injunction remains on construction of the tailings system, after a legal move by a group of landowners opposed to the system.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Tiffany Nonggorr, says the miner, the China Metallurgical and Construction Company and the state have filed motions to sue for security over costs and losses if they win the case.

"The state and the miner are saying because the customary landowners don't have any cash and won't be able to satisfy the judgement if we do lose, they should pay into the court before we start the trial a sum of money. Now the sum of money sought from these customary landowners is eight million kina. These customary landowners don't exist in the cash economy. So this application is being used very oppressively."

Tiffany Nonggorr