The National, Wednesday 25th July, 2012
By PISAI GUMAR
THE Special Land Titles Commission has completed two coastal pipeline landowner disputes relating to the Ramu nickel mine, with 42 disputes yet to be completed.
Apart from the landowner cases, there are 70 undisputed applications still pending.
The commissioners are chairman George Minjihau, acting chief commissioner Benedict Batata and special commissioner Kutt Paonga who were appointed by the state to hear landowner disputes of the pipeline.
Minjihau said they had completed eight cases for inland pipeline landowners but the decisions were still pending.The cases for the coastal pipeline landowners were delayed out of respect for the death of their chairman Charles Okori recently.
He said the commission had begun with two disputing parties from Basamuk.
“However, the two disputing parties from Basamuk assured the court cooperation so we allowed them to settle outside the court,” Minjihau said.
“At Basamuk, there are three outstanding cases but we are not sure because the disputing parties have yet to register their cases.
“Otherwise they could be undisputed cases,” Batata said.
He said they had been appointed to deal with gazetted disputing areas recognised by the National Executive Council.“The NEC gazetted cases relate to customary land areas on which the slurry pipeline runs and 15m from each side of the pipeline.
“There are cases pending for 15 areas of the slurry pump stations, with 300 applicants disputing ownership,” Batata said.
“This case is very sensitive and crucial to us for the best interest of the state, the investor and landowners to benefit all. However, the main factor in the slow progress of hearing is caused by families with a clan disputing each other.”
Batata said the commission was mindful of recording detailed information before final decisions were handed down.The commission commended the Mineral Resource Authority for setting up a separate building as a court house for hearing cases.