Alfred Kaniniba | Post Courier
Mt Kare, the mountain that brought the biggest gold rush in modern PNG history and with it a curse to the landowners bringing infighting, disharmony and ill-feelings for more than 30 years, is now in the past.
The disputing parties from the Enga and Hela Provinces have been assisted to formally engage and dialogue with each other through a mediated agreement under the National Court’s alternate dispute resolution program.
The dispute resolution program will target the land on which the exploration licence 1093 was granted and previously saw five developers come and go with legitimate and paper landowners ending up embroiled in bitter legal battles over ownership of the land.
The ADR was implemented under the leadership of National Court Judge Ambeng Kandakasi who brought all the Mt Kare clans together from Enga and Hela.
On July 18 and 19, 2015, all landowners with interests within EL 1093 agreed to go to mediation as per the Mediation Order of March 2015, and after freely and willingly participating in the process agreed to 10 terms of agreement.
The first terms states: “The Parties will avoid the long process of litigation in court and solve any future dispute or conflict or differences between them over landownership in mutually acceptable ways as a first option.
The terms also include: “The parties recognised 19 clans as the exclusive landowning clans within the boundaries of EL 1093. Twelve from the Paiela-Based landowning clans of Enga Province and seven from the Tagali–based landowning clans of Hela Province.
It also calls for: “The landowner parties in this agreement identified agree to organise themselves into properly incorporated land groups in accordance with the Incorporated Land Groups Act and the National Government, Enga Provincial Government, Hela Provincial Government and Summit Develop0ment Limited (or its successor or successors) may use their best endeavours to assist the landowner parties.”
During the weekend the Paiela-based clans said they were happy with the mediated agreement and are now looking forward to fast track the project.
Team leader of the 12 Enga clans Ben Hewape said it was now time for Mt Kare to move forward and called on the Government and the Enga Provincial Government help them progress.
Mr Hewape from the Leyapi clan and John Tarale from the Komai clan who spoke on-behalf of the Pakeya, Terewane, (Heli Paiela), Yangeyame, and Yamondaka clan leaders present in Port Moresby as well as the Yolo, Kewai, Tini-Pulumani, Angalani, and Pujero clans called on the Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas to seriously look at helping them, now that a way forward has been agreed to.
“We are calling on the national government and especially our action governor Sir Peter through the provincial government to help is with a mobilisation fund to help our ILGs verification of our clan lists with our lawyers to fast track development.