25 Jan 2011

PNG landowners want LNG benefits

7:08 am on 25 January 2011

A spokesperson for a landowner group in PNG says they are challenging for the right to be a partner in the multi-billion dollar LNG project.

Papua New Guinea's chief justice has ordered that a mediation process begin to resolve differences between landowners, the government and the project developers, Exxon Mobil.

Last week work on the LNG project was disrupted by landowners protesting that they hadn't received any of the benefits they have been promised from the project.

Simon Ekanda, who represents 26 clans of the Tugaba tribe, says they are the legal owners of the land where the resources are located.

But he says they have been denied the right to participate in the project

"They have used police and army and politicians to push this agreement down our throats. It was never been agreed, and we will never agree if we are not a party to this project. We want maximum benefit and we want to be a partner to this project."

Simon Ekenda says he believes the landowners can gain finance so they can take 50 percent equity in the LNG project