A researcher with the newly-formed State Crime Initiative says Papua New Guinea's Mining Minister has made a poorly veiled effort to intimidate NGOs battling the Ramu nickel mine's deep sea tailings disposal system.
The Minister John Pundari has called for a body to be set up to oversee NGOs working in the country.
The Minister says PNG has to be protected from selfish and unscrupulous foreign elements using NGOs for their own gain.
But Dr Kristian Lasslett says NGOs are providing an essential service by showing landowners non-violent means to protect their rights.
"They are very well-educated nationals who are experienced lawyers, experienced activists, experienced community organisers and they certainly do not need assistance from foreigners to help them assist their own people to prosecute their customary rights."
Researcher Dr Kristian Lasslett.