19 Nov 2008

Main player in PNG's Lae Port project confident dispute will be resolved

3:25 pm on 19 November 2008

The main body executing a major development project in the Papua New Guinea city of Lae says it's confident of resolving a dispute with traditional landowners.

Ahi landowners have threatened to shut down the Lae Port Tidal Basin project because they claim the Independent Public Business Corporation and the Asian Development Bank have breached an agreement relating to the resettlement of people who moved to make way for the project.

IPBC Project Advisor Robert Nilkare says the threat is not aggressive and says all parties have agreed to hold discussions on Friday to resolve their differences.

"I guess the important thing is we have to listen to both sides of the story and try to ascertain how best we could move forward in terms of addressing their issues and at the same time not losing focus on where we want to go with the project as well. Because timing is an issue for us."

Robert Nilkare says if the disagreements are not carefully managed, there is potential for the plans to be delayed.