22 Dec 2014

PNG 'needs' a mining ombudsman

7:14 am on 22 December 2014

An academic says a mining ombudsman in Papua New Guinea could do a lot to solve conflict around projects.

LNG Project facility, Central Province, Papua New Guinea.

LNG Project facility, Central Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The PNG economy is soaring on the back of huge returns from the LNG project but the country still has half its population at or below the poverty line.

Associate professor Glenn Banks at New Zealand's Massey University wrote a United Nations Development Programme report on the challenges this poses for PNG.

He says they have advocated better governance and the delivery of public services, while the establishment of a mining ombudsman would help resolve conflicts between communities and mining companies.

"Having an ombudsman at a very senior level who has the ability to draw on international experience, to draw on legal expertise, human rights expertise, and provide a conduit for people to actually bring grievances against the operators, against the state, against other elements in their community, or elsewhere, could make a huge difference."

Associate Professor Glenn Banks.