Court: Govt may proceed

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A COURT has allowed the Government to continue conducting social mapping and landowner identification in Gulf where the multi-billion kina Papua LNG is located.
It lifted an interim order obtained on Nov 21, 2019, by Roy Evara, the president of the Purari Development Association Inc, on behalf of the Iare, Koriki, Kaimare, Koravake, Vaimuru, Ipiko and Lavivana tribes of Baimuru in Gulf to stop the Government’s social mapping and landowner identification exercise.
National Court judge Justice Nicholas Miviri on Friday granted an application filed by Solicitor-General Tauvasa Tanuvasa to have the restraining order dissolved and to allow the State to identify landowner beneficiaries to receive benefits on behalf of the landowners.
The interim order had been granted to Evara because it was a registered proprietor of a Special Agriculture and Business Lease over the subject land. “The backdrop is that social mapping and landowner identification studies are mandatory requirement (under) Section 47 of the Oil and Gas Act,” Justice Miviri said.
“Whether it is prospecting, or retention, or development, it is a mandatory requirement upon the license to undertake.
“It is very important to verify, identify all landowners as equity and royalty benefits due follow with this condition satisfied.
“It has been held in ransom because the substantive cause of action is pending.
“It is the grievance of the plaintiff that he as a landowner by custom as registered proprietor of the subject land has had it cancelled by the alleged actions of the first second third fourth and sixth defendants,” he said.
Justice Miviri adjourned the substantive proceeding to Sept 6 for directions.