Mediation between BNL, State on hold

National

A MEDIATION between the State and Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL), which was supposed to start yesterday, has been put on hold to clear some legal issues before further action can be taken.
The mediation ordered by the National Court last Tuesday was in relation to a judicial review proceedings BNL, the operator of Porgera gold mine, had filed against the state for refusing its special mining lease (SML).
Deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi informed the parties that mediation had to be on hold to clear out legal issues that had been raised by the State.
The State had filed an application to dismiss the judicial review proceedings as it claimed that it was an abuse of court process, while Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) filed a competency application against the review sought by BNL.
Justice Kandakasi asked the parties to provide the court with case laws that proved it’s safe to proceed with mediation.
He ordered the parties to return on Thursday to determine whether the court should hear the application or set new dates for mediation.
Justice Kandakasi ordered a mediation in regards to the issue before the court after parties showed arrogance and took position of the matter despite the court on several occasions asking them to resolve the issue outside court.
The issue that remains to be resolved is whether the Government’s decision to refuse the BNL’s SML was unreasonable ,which the miner claimed was unreasonable in the wednesbury sense (a reasoning or decision made unreasonable or irrational).

11 comments

  • The Government decision made not to renew BNL SML was crylst clear in law and mind that its decision was fair and just. If BNL can say that “the issue that remains to be resolved is whether the Government’s decision to refuse the BNL’s SML was unreasonable. BNL is just buying time and playing delay tactic to suppress the State and treat its decision as a “wednesbury decison. There is overwhelming reasons and evidences before the State decision not to renew SML application hence BNL should not used technical legal interpretation to challenge a lawful decisio in interest of its people and the country. BNL should just pack-up and leave Porgera and that is it.

  • Can you explain the good reasons not to renew the license of a mine that in fact is already in operation..! The government has not given the operator a list of clear and good reasons! Its really shameful when you have absolutely no grounds not to renew a mine license where multimillion companies have poured in billions to operate! Why not compromise and go for a 49/51 share holding!

  • KK totally agree with you. Government should provide reasons for not renewing the licence. How can you argue when you have no grounds to stand and fight even on our own land? Government has the rightoff rights but that does not mean you have every rights to bulldoze everything. Investors have their rights as well in some sense therefore government has to consider investors rights to invest and make bussiness in the country as well.

  • The government wont be that dumb not to renew the mining license if it didn’t have justified reasons to do so – the call was made after ensuring it is covered on all fronts (including legal aspects) before making the call not to renew the license. There are conditions of the license BNL operate under and when it expired some of those conditions may not be complied with/fulfilled – that is why it was not renewed.

    The government provided a possible opportunity for BNL to continue operations by allowing for a transition period before BLN left (BNL could have maximized the benefit of this transition period by going into negotiate with the government on a benefit sharing agreement – 49/51 as stated by KK or better for PNG) but BNL squandered that opportunity by totally stalling operations. Now BNL is crying over spilled milk running to the courts.

    Just because BNL is a multi-national company doesn’t give it the right to operate in our country without complying to certain permit/license conditions it is legally obligated to adhere to. Comply with these conditions under our laws and you can continue to operate in harmony in our country. Otherwise it is our land and our resources and there are other multinational companies willing to agree and comply with conditions – BNL can pack up and go shopping in other parts of the world where they can dictate their conditions.

    • Thank you Dirty Stag. That is exactly the way every rational thinking Papua New Guineans should see the issue. I don’t think it is proper for any legitimate government to provide any explanation or reason to anyone on any decisions it makes for the country. Only dumb people will think in this manner.

  • Those who went for BNL and challenge the Gov’t of the day, just go back to Pogera and see the social status of the Pogera Landowners, especially KK and YL for the challenge you put up with state.

    For how long will BNL robe the people of Pogera and the state

  • Just after the shutdown of the mine, BNL’s general manager Tonny Esplin pointed out some facts which the locals(porgera residents) and country as a whole will face.” When two elephants fight in a big battle field, little grass on the field are going to die “.he said.
    Inhabitants on the ground will call for any relief but it won’t be heard as their focus will be on the battle he added.
    As I’m concern local porgeran I see this is really fulfilling. I’m not in favour of either parties but it seems like the state will be taken to international court and it may take longer than expected to re-open the mine.
    Pitty are those locals whose their life-span is entirely dependent on the mine.

  • The so-called mediation process is mere waste of time and money. The mediation process existed in our Melanesian culture and it still exists today. You call that Out of Court settlement. Mediation is NOT Court room where one is ordered to obey.
    This mediation process is like going around circles with no end in sight.
    The Court should deal with this matter and apply the rule of law

  • I leased out my property to Joe Blow for 10 years and we signed an agreement to that effect. There is no option for further renewal or extension after the 10 year term expires. When agreement expired, I gave Joe Blow 1 month notice to leave my property as I want it for myself. However, Joe refused and he wants to take me to court he wanted to stay on. Does Joe have any right to take me to court in this case? This is the same scenario now being played out between the state and BNL. What right does BNL have to take the government to court after the lease agreement have already expired?

  • Common sense must prevail, the wisest thing the Government should do was to let BNL continue operate and change the laws. Instead it was opposite. We want to own our resources but we have to do it professionally by changing laws and not taking actions to disrupt operation which has affected 2700 employees and the economy of this country. As stated by press release Barrick is taking next step by going to international court and this will take years. The geological data belongs to BNL and if BNL leaves it will take another 4 to 5 years of explorations by Government or whoever taking over. Benefit sharing agreement – 49/51 is fair enough which government should agree to put stop to this madness and go back to Parliament to change laws that will suit our interest.

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