Hearing on BCL licence case next month

Sally Pokiton | Loop PNG | April 23, 2018

decision for the non-renewal of exploration licence to Bougainville Copper Limited will be reviewed by the National Court in May.

The decision made on 16 January 2018 by the Autonomous Bougainville Government has been stayed by the court since April 10, pending the substantive hearing.

It was stayed after leave was granted by Justice Leka Nablu of the Waigani National Court.

Parties in the case, including another interested party, appeared before the National Court today (April 23).

The case will return to court on May 10.

BCL applied for the renewal of its exploration licence on 6 May 2016 from the Department of Mineral and Energy Resources of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

On 16 January 2018, BCL was informed that the exploration licence will not be renewed. BCL believes there were flaws in the process and wants the decision to undergo judicial review.

1 Comment

Filed under Exploration, Papua New Guinea

One response to “Hearing on BCL licence case next month

  1. Bougainville Copper seeks judicial review over lost licence
    From Dateline Pacific, 3:03 pm on 25 April 2018
    One of the two companies vying to re-open Bougainville’s Panguna mine has told the Australian share market that its exploration licence remains intact.

    This comes after it sought a judicial review and won a stay in the National Court of Papua New Guinea on a Bougainville government decision last January to refuse its application to extend its licence.

    The Autonomous Bougainville Government announced earlier this month that it was placing a moratorium on mining at Panguna because of the lack of unity among the landowners and the risk the matter could undermine the preparations for the independence referendum next year.

    Don Wiseman raised this matter with Bougainville Copper Ltd’s company secretary, Mark Hitchcock, but began by looking at the legal action taken by the company.
    MARK HITCHCOCK: In January we were formally advised that our application for the renewal of the exploration licence [EL1] at Panguna had not been renewed. We took a case to the National Court in Papua New Guinea asking for leave for a judicial review. Now that has been granted and a stay has been put in place for the decision made on the 16th January.

    DON WISEMAN: So when will the court hear that?

    MH: We are due to appear in court again on the 10th of May and that is a process where the court will issue directions and that sets a timetable for all the documents and proceedings that follow.

    DW: Now you have also told the Australia share market you have initiated legal action in the Supreme Court in Victoria, endeavouring to look at the files held by your rival over this possible re-opening of Panguna, RTG. What’s that all about?

    MH: We have commenced an action in the Supreme Court for discovery of material and documents just in relation to activities that have gone on in Panguna.

    DW: Well can you elaborate/ What do you mean?

    MH: Well it’s just in relation to the different dealings that Central Me’ekamui Exploration [an associate of RTG] and RTG may have had with landowners, the SMLOLA association and various parties.

    DW: It seems a little strange in a lot of ways, all this carrying on over Panguna because we now have the government saying that as far as they are concerned there won’t be any development at Panguna for the – well, indefinitely.

    MH: Indefinitely, yet. We will be respectful and work with the ABG and their wishes, but we just need to protect the rights of everybody – that includes our shareholders and the majority of the landowners that we see as supporting us. And we are just trying to maintain the status quo at the moment. We have always politely gone about our work, and respectfully gone about our work in relation to EL1 [the exploration licence the company had wanted renewed] and we will continue to do that.

    Dw: You say that you have this majority backing from the landowners around Panguna but certainly some of those people around Panguna say that is not the case.

    MH: We have got direct dealings – we have recruited employees, village liaison officers in and around the mine affected area. They have day too day dealings with landowners and we are seeing quite strong support for BCL and the work that we are doing

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