The National, Friday 23rd December 2011
THE Supreme Court yesterday gave the green light to Ramu NiCo to operate its deep sea tailings placement system (DSTP) at its nickel and cobalt refinery at Basamuk, in Raicoast district, Madang.
It ruled in favour of the manager of the US$1.5 billion project and the state by dismissing the case first started in March last year by a group of Raicoast residents to permanently stop the construction and operation of the DSTP system which had been approved to international standard.
In July this year, Madang National Court rejected the injunction application following an exhaustive trial in February and March.
Afterwards, a group of Madang residents led by Louis Mediang filed the appeal to the Supreme Court.
The appeal was heard on Oct 4-5 by a bench comprising justices Cathy Davani, Derek Hartshorn and Don Sawong.
In addition to reaffirming the National Court decision that no injunction should be available, the Supreme Court also upheld the submissions of the cross-appellants, namely, Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd, the state and Dr Wari Iamo by quashing the declaratory orders made at the Madang National Court that the appellants had established causes of action in private and public nuisance regarding the operation of the DSTP and that the operation of the DSTP was contrary to the National Goal No. 4 (Natural Resources and Environment) of the Constitution.
It is also ordered that the appellants pay the cross-appellants costs at both the National Court and the Supreme Court proceedings.
Ramu NiCo said in a statement yesterday the ruling was a crucial outcome for all stakeholders in PNG’s first world-class nickel project, as well as for the international investors in PNG’s resources industry.
“After a 21-month legal battle, this comprehensive victory is finally achieved through patience and persistence, along with strong support from the community and the government.
“In operation, Ramu NiCo will continue to work closely with the government and other stakeholders to meet the environmental obligations and international best practices,” it said.
The Ramu nickel project is undergoing staged commissioning.