Simberi landowners seek compensation for unlawful exploration


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.



Filed under Environmental impact, Exploration, Papua New Guinea

3 responses to “Simberi landowners seek compensation for unlawful exploration

  1. Who ever issued the exploration licence is to blame as it should not have gone through without all consultation being completed

  2. Cedric

    the expression liken has been granted for 15 years
    Funny this is happening now.

  3. Bernard KELONTII

    This is not surprising for Extractive Industries in PNG. Simberi is just one of the many similar projects around the country where landowners miss out as may thought, otherwise.

    The fact of the matter is this; By Law, the Resource belongs to the State, but is below Customary Land owned by Landowners. The surface land is acquired compulsorily by the State and for depriving Landowners, State pays the Landowners. All this is clearly set out in Constitution 53(1) & 53(2).

    This means Landowners do not own the surface land, however are compensated for in the form of compensation for damages, land use, royalty and equity if necessary, also inclusive as package a tax credit scheme, special support grants and appropriate selective spin-off contracts. These compensation are all provided for in the respective Acts for Mining or Oil & Gas, but comes off upon signing of MOA. MOA does not come immediately, but after determining economic viability of the project. What about between exploration and MOA period?

    The notion is Land that once belonged to Customary Landowners is now owned by State so Developer only literally deals with State and not Landowners. That is why Developer does not recognize Landowners who have been custodians time immemorable.

    In the case of EL 609 when License is issued, that is it.

    There are ways to get what you want and you have initiated it, but that is one – off. Landowners must think of ways they can get more out of such. It is not easy, but needs vision and direction and it is through commercial gain.

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