2 May 2007

Landowners to sue PNG government if they continue to be denied Ramu entitlements

3:15 pm on 2 May 2007

Landowners in Papua New Guinea say they will continue to push for the government to review the Memorandum of Agreement over the Ramu nickel and cobalt mine to get what they're entitled to.

A lawyer for one set of landowners, Nickson Kiuk, says landowners are meant to gain greatly from the MOA, but he says so far they haven't seen any benefits.

He says he represents up to 6,000 landowners in the special mine lease area, who say they'll take legal action and sue the government and the Chinese company if the MOA isn't reviewed by the end of May.

He says landowners want their entitlements as outlined in the 2002 agreement, which includes millions of kina as promised by the government, and jobs.

"The developer is engaging Chinese companies to do or engage in jobs which supposed to have been done by locals and that's where the locals miss out on spinoff benefits and that's the major concern for landowners. They should be involved in all the spinoffs, not the Chinese government and they've never been engaged and working conditions and all that has been very poor."

Nickson Kiuk says the government and the Chinese company say they are working around the clock to make changes and comply with the agreement, but he says landowners have been left out of the loop.