22 Sep 2010

Court action in PNG over a Chinese mine's tailings system in doubt

9:48 am on 22 September 2010

The trial over the validity of the planned marine tailings system for the Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea's Madang province could be decided today after signs of a withdrawal by the plaintiffs.

The trial's start has been delayed another day after three plaintiffs, customary landowners who won an injunction against the 1 billion US dollar Chinese-run mine from constructing its tailings pipeline, failed to show at court.

The court was informed by a fax purportedly from the plaintiffs that they want to drop their legal challenge against the government and the mining giant Metallurgical Corporation of China.

They also reportedly want to sack their lawyer, Tiffany Nonggorr, who has suddenly lost contact with her clients.

She says her team had flown in a number of scientists for this case

"In the future when further indigenous landowners who don;t have money to pay for expensive experts, when they try and source experts to come and assist them, I think these sorts of experts will be reticent to come in the future. It's very sad."

Tiffany Nonggorr.