K42bn lawsuit against State

A K42 billion lawsuit has been filed against the state for what was claimed to be a breach of contract and duty of care of landowners in the Porgera Gold mine operation.

Chairman of the Justice Foundation for Porgera, Jonathan Paraia, announced the action taken on behalf of the landowners on November 30th.

On Friday November 30th, Paraia, backed by supporters and a legal representative, announced the lawsuit against the state.

“This is a statement on behalf of the landowners of the special mining lease of Pogera in the Enga Province of PNG. The people and landowners of Porgera are united. The chief of the Porgerans now speak in one voice.

“The landowners of the special mining lease, which expires on 12th May, 2019, are suing the PNG Government for US$13.28 billion dollars (K42 billion). The matter will proceed before an arbitrator under the United Nations system of arbitration.

“The dispute is a domestic dispute and issue involving the people of Pogera suing the Government of PNG for breaches of contract, breaches of the duty of care it owed to the landowners of Porgera, for damages including injury, loss and harm caused by the operation of the Porgera gold mine by Barrick Niugini Limited for over 29 years since it commenced operation in Porgera in 1989.”

Paraia said the lawsuit has been filed already to the relevant Government institutions to resolve the matter.

“The Government we put you on notice that the clock is starting to click on the date and time we serve the notice for arbitration to the minster for mining and copy to the Attorney General and the Minister for Justice,” said Paraia.

In October the people of Porgera protested against Barrick Niugini Limited over the alleged raping of women and girls by security at the mine, environmental destruction as well as displacement of locals.

Last month the national court issued a restraining order preventing the government and Barrick from progressing the renewal of the lease until next April because of the failure to consult with landowners, as required by law.

Author: 
Cedric Patjole
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