Ramu mine waste dumping: Injunction refused

LIVE FROM MADANG:   Justice Canning sitting in the National Court in Madang has refused an application by indigenous landholders for a permanent injunction preventing the marine dumping of toxic waste from the Ramu nickel mine.

The judge said that although the landholders did have standing, had established that there was a serious likelihood of irreversible harm that would constitute both a public and private nuisance and that the dumping would breach the National Goals and Directive Principles in Papua New Guinea’s Constitution, he was refusing the application for a permanent injunction.

Justice Canning gave as his reasons for refusing the plaintiff’s application their delay in bringing a court action, the fact the marine dumping has been approved by the government and the economic consequences for the mining company and investor confidence if the marine dumping was stopped.

The landholders legal challenge was the second court case attempting to prevent the marine waste dumping. The first trial was abandoned last year in circumstances the judge described as suspicious when the initial plaintiff’s withdrew their case citing fears for their personal safety. However, hundreds of other landholders then stepped forward to reinstate the proceedings and a full trial was held in February.

On one side in this David versus Goliath legal case was the Chinese State owned corporation, MCC, its junior partner, Australian based Highlands Pacific, and the State of Papua New Guinea on the other, a thousand or so indigenous landowners from rural villages that have very few basic services.

Three weeks ago the Chinese Ambassador to PNG visited PNG’s acting Prime Minister to discuss the Ramu nickel mine.

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7 Comments

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

7 responses to “Ramu mine waste dumping: Injunction refused

  1. Wesley Lokotoiya

    So, after months and months of dispute the very predictable outcome of this litigation is now on the public record.
    I do not accept the reasoning of Justice Cannings in refusing the injunction given his past position in granting interim orders in the first instance.
    The outcome in this matter is an appalling indictment on the quality of the Justice Cannings capacity to administer the Law in PNG.
    His Honors findings should have at least been consistent from day one rather than putting all parties through the totally unproductive and unjustified process they have suffered.
    Hi Honor was never, at law, able to impose an injunction on the Crown in all of the circumstance.
    Worse, any chance to impose a rational and strengthened regulatory process in relation to deep sea tailings disposal has now been lost.
    The Money won over Reason and Worlds Best Practices.
    All of the parties should have taken the opportunity to work together in this matter, has this opportunity now been lost?
    PNG AS A NATION IS THE LOSER.

  2. knoxx

    With respect I say Justice Canning reasons for refusing the plaintiff’s application are unacceptable.
    If Justice Canning is basing his reasons on the fact that; 1. the government has already approved marine dumping; 2. the economic consequences of the mining company, and 3. The investor interest, then the way I see it, the good judge may be having a hard time trying to decide a win-win situation here. Just say no to marine dumping if the people are against it. Find other alternatives to manage waste and allow mining to continue. Why not try recycling mine waste.

  3. Suzanne Earley

    Well, there goes Madang. Greed wins again, it seems.

  4. stret pasin

    This sounds like the judge has erred significantly and must be appealed as high as it can go. If the reporting is accurate his judgement is flawed in its reasoning.
    1. Delay is not a relevant reason to rule against landowners. They are not causing the environmental and social nuisance. If delay was an issue then why was an injunction allowed. Is the justice system not more responsible for delays?
    2. If the spirit of the constitution has been breached then government permits cannot override this. The constitution is supreme. If an economic loss is made by the developper this is a result of the risk they took. Risk is part of business and they should have alternatives to disposal at sea in their business plan.
    3. It appears that the government overstepped their authority and breached the constitution.
    4. The solution is to mitigate the impact by modifying the waste disposal plan or come up with a new lower impact solution. Cost is a problem for the developper, not for the government, the judge or landowners.

  5. Pingback: Ramu mine waste dumping: “Judge has erred” | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

  6. bonnie

    😦 a sad day indeed. but the Madang people will not give up, this is just another hurdle. be strong Madang, be strong PNG!

  7. Pingback: Social Concerns Notes – July 2011 | Social Concerns

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