Landowners of the Porgera gold mine in Enga Province, are seeking relief orders from the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional recent amendments to the Mining Act that will enable the State to cease negotiations with landowners over royalties.
The landowners are the plaintis in the proceeding led by Porgera Landowners Association (PLO) negotiating committee deputy chairman Dickson Pundi, PLO recognition review committee Roy Pundi and former PLO chairman negotiating committee Tony Mark Ekepa. The application was led through lawyers Greg Sheppard and Phillip Tabuchi from Young and Williams Lawyers.
A press conference held yesterday in Port Moresby was told that the application seeks to challenge the legality of new amendments to section 95E of the Mining Act that seeks to strip landowners’ constitutional right to negotiate with the State over their royalties.
Roy Pundi said the eect of the recent amendment was revealed when the State awarded the new special mining lease (SML) to Kumul Mineral Holdings Limited (KMHL) without proper consultation with the customary owners of the land the mine is situated on.
“The Mining Minister reserved the land for KMHL for 20 years without our consultation,” Mr Ekepa said. “We didn’t allow access for KMHL to come in to operate on our land, we didn’t even discuss conditions that it would operate under.”
Meanwhile, other parties who have shown interest to intervene on the application include Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven, Mineral Resource Authority, the Speaker of Parliament Job Pomat and Barrick Niugini Limited. The matter will appear in court on November 4, for the applicants to make submissions on their standing to pursue the matter to be heard in a full trial.