Papua New Guinea's Attorney General says people calling for changes to the law on resource ownership are mischief-making.
There are calls for the state to relinquish the control it has over the minerals and other elements found at six foot or deeper.
But Sir Arnold Amet, a former chief justice, says this has been the law since independence and aimed to ensure the benefits flowed through to the entire country.
He says without such an approach the country would not have developed the way it has.
"And this is the mischief that many of the current political opportunists, including Sir Julius Chan, who was one of our founding leaders, and used these very laws to develop the resources for the benefit of the whole country and that is the basis on which continuing governments since independence have adhered to and upheld this law. Otherwise the country would not have developed the way it is if every individual group and tribe insisted on owning the resources under the ground."