Chamber concerned over Ramu project legal battle

Business, Main Stories

THE PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (PNGCMP) has expressed  concern over the events leading to the interim injunction on the construction of the deep-sea tailings placement system (DSTP) approved for the Ramu nickel cobalt project in Madang province.
The injunction resulted from legal proceedings initiated by four individuals of the Rai Coast community.
Executive director for the Chamber Greg Anderson said the developer, Ramu NiCo (MCC) Management Limited, had been granted all necessary permits by the State to construct and operate the facility and had invested US$1.5 billion  (K4 billion) in the construction of this world-class project which would significantly enhance PNG’s mineral base.
Mr Anderson said construction of the project was almost finalised and the injunction was delaying completion and commissioning, thus seriously impacting on the project costs.
“All officially recognised and Government-sanctioned landowner associations representing the communities impacted by the development have publicly expressed their support for the project and their opposition to the court action.
“The chamber is particularly concerned about the broad security of tenure risk issues that such disruptive actions introduce,” he said.
Mr Anderson stressed that the issue had brought about insecurity and uncertainty in the mining and petroleum investment sector and sends a negative signal to current and potential investors.
 “The chamber is disturbed that outside groups may be funding litigation of minority interest groups, not officially recognised, to further their own ends and not the interests of the wider community, the PNG people and the nation.
“The whole mining and petroleum industry is monitoring this case closely and the outcome of the hearing on today is critical to the future investment environment of the country,” he said.