Landowners want royalty payments

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday August 07th, 2012

THE principal landowners from the Mt Fubilan area of Ok Tedi in Fly River, Western, have called on the state, through the Mineral Resources Authority, and Ok Tedi Mining Ltd to immediately settle all outstanding royalty payments without further delay.
Kimka Sepiyan Sub-Tribe Landowners Group representative Paul Eddie said two separate 2006 local land court orders granted in Kiunga still remained valid and enforceable for the royalty payout to the group.
“Many of our tribal leaders and elders have died without benefiting from these outstanding royalty monies and the state and the developer cannot afford to prolong this matter,” Eddie said.
He said a dispute between key landowner parties for fair distribution of royalties was resolved through a signed agreement on July 6, 2004, however, because of disagreements and the fact that only one individual landowner had been benefiting, the parties sought redress in the courts.
He said the plaintiff, Kambomyap Allolim, had been claiming outstanding royalties from 1976-2009, “the sum may well have been millions of kina despite decisions of the Kiunga local land court on April 21 and Dec 6, 2006, which recognised the Kimka Sepiyan Sub-Tribe land group as entitled to 95% of the royalties”.
Eddie condemned Ok Tedi’s involvement in the local land court proceedings as it was an avenue only for customary landowners.
“Again, this is a classic example of a corporate giant preying on a resource-rich area like Ok Tedi, thus depriving and piling on further misery to the already-displaced locals,” he said.
However, since August 2006, correspondences were exchanged between the state solicitor and Mining Department secretary in which the former advised that all payments due to the Kimka Sepiyan Sub-Tribe land group and Biul Kirokim, another landowner be apportioned, according to the local land court orders.
The Kimka Sepiyan Sub-Tribe land group briefed Mining Minister Byron Chan early this year and urged him to direct the MRA, OTML and Fly River provincial government to sign a revised memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the landowners in order to implement the court orders and settle the royalty payment issue.