Locals lose battle

National, Normal

The National, Friday, May 6, 2011

TWENTY-three years of infighting and court battles between landowners, the state and the developers of Mt Kare gold mine in the border of Enga and Southern Highlands are far from over.
Factions of Mt Kare landowners on Wednesday said they did not want Kingsgate Pacific, the licensee of EL 1093, and the Mineral Resources Authority to explore and mine gold on their land.
The Ipa and Ita clans, which claimed to be the legitimate landowners owning 90% of the hard rock and alluvial mine at the Mt Kare EL1093, sounded the warning yesterday after their application for a judicial review for granting of the licence to Madison Enterprise and subsequent granting of the same licence to Pacific Kingsgate, was refused by the National Court.
Handing down the decision, acting chief Justice Gibbs Salika said among others, four requirements of the application for judicial review for leave had not been met.
The matter was between Anton Pepa Kaluni, on behalf of himself and 14 principal Mt Kare landowners, as first plaintiff and the state as first defendant, MRA as second and James Kruse as liquidator of Madison as third defendant.
Salika noted that the plaintiff’s affidavits did not have any proof of being a landowner.
He said there was no land title or incorporated land group certificate while there was no proof of his company being incorporated under the companies Act.
Salika noted that Mining Minister John Pundari was not invited to be a party to the proceeding as he approved the EL1093 to Kingsgate Pacific recently.
Kaluni accepted the decision but said that was not the end.
He said he had not included any land title, an ILG certificate and his company’s proof of business registration because they were still pending at the time he had filed for a judicial review.
“I accept the decision. There are other options to challenge this.
“The state and the developer must know that the hard rock and alluvial are owned by my people.
“If the state does not want to recognise us, they can mine the land. I will fence my gold,” Kaulini said on Wednesday at the court house.
His cause for complaint was that the state and MRA renewed EL1093 in 2008 without a proper warden’s hearing and procedure to issue an extension to Madison Enterprises without giving due consideration of the serious objection raised by the plaintiff and landowners from Mt Kare who were personally affected by the tenement holders. 
The landowners said they would use any means to block any mining and exploration in their area.
Indochine Mining has progressed plans to buy the Mt Kare gold project after receiving the go-ahead from the government for the transfer and extension of the project’s exploration licence.
The extension of terms and transfer of the exploration licence has been provided by MRA to PNG Company Summit Development.