Landowners seek claims for damages
Post Courier, April 20,2016
A GROUP of landowners on Simberi Island in New Ireland Province is asking for K200,000 compensation, from a mining company for exploration on their land.
The Anos and Keis Kokomageot landowners of Maragon village say that they have not been consulted. They said that the exploration licence (EL609) by Nord Australex Nominees (PNG) Limited, a subsidiary of Simberi Gold extractors, St Barbara Limited, was unlawfully granted and used to explore on their land without their knowledge.
The piece of land is located west of the Island and lies in the non-mining lease area while the mine is in the east coast.
Clan chiefs Tom Tamanok, William Jone and Obert Laka said that vegetation were destroyed without consulting the landowners. The chiefs say that their rights to their customary lands including the right of ownership thereof as expressed by the right to possess, the right to use, and the right to dispose of customary land which have been taken away from the customary landowners, or suspended for the duration or terms of the EL609 as a result of the unlawful grant of the Exploration Licence EL609 to Nord Australex Nominees (PNG) Limited.
They were however, offered an amount of K2000 after an enquiry on the unlawful prospecting. This was declined and offered another offer of K9000 was made but it was also rejected. The landowners feel that their rights to the land were not respected by the foreigners.
In a letter from the mining operators, all activity conducted on Anos and Keis Kokmagiot clans customary land is within Exploration Licence 609. Mining Act 1992 Section 23 (1) (a) provides that an exploration licence authorises the holder, in accordance with any conditions to which it may be subject, to enter and occupy the land which comprises the exploration licence for the purpose of carrying out exploration for minerals on that land.