A former Australian chief justice has been appointed to resolve a dispute between the PNG Government and mining company, Nautilus Minerals.
The dispute is delaying the opening of the world’s first seafloor gold and copper mine.
The PNG Government signed an agreement with Nautilus last March to take a 30 per cent stake in the firm’s Solwara 1 site in the Bismark Sea.
Since then environment groups have waged a vociferous campaign against seafloor mining and PNG has failed to pay its share of the initial investment.
Nautilus and PNG both accuse each other of breaching the agreement.
In a statement, Nautilus says the parties have agreed to the appointment of Australia’s former chief Justice Murray Gleeson as arbitrator.
Arbitration will take place in Sydney and is expected to take several months.
Nautilus hopes to start mining gold and copper deposits off the coast of PNG next year.