18 Apr 2011

PNG attorney general stresses state ownership of natural resources

3:37 pm on 18 April 2011

Papua New Guinea's attorney general, Sir Arnold Amet, has criticised lawyer, Peter Donigi, for claiming that the state doesn't own the country's natural resources.

Sir Arnold says all resources found six feet or deeper underground belong to the state with ownership vested in it by the Mining Act 1992 and the Oil and Gas Act 1998.

The National newspaper reports Sir Arnold saying these two acts adopted state ownership rights for minerals and petroleum resources from pre-independence laws.

Sir Arnold says Mr Donigi has been inciting landowners from the LNG project areas with his vague argument, instead of pursuing legal redress through the higher courts to have the matter resolved.

Some MPs, including former prime minister Sir Julius Chan have called for reform of the legislation, to return control over resources to the landowners.