Post Courier | February 6, 2020
The Madang provincial government and 13 landowners have sued Chinese company Ramu Nico for damages worth K18 billion and K1.6 million as special damages to be settled 30 days from today.
Lawyer representing the provincial government Ben Lomai said yesterday that based on the final report carried out by international scientists engaged by the government, the case has been granted and a writ of summons will be served on Ramu Nico today.
There are about 13 plaintiffs who have signed on behalf of 7968 officers taking the company to court including the provincial government. This included Wadan Namui on behalf of 52 named persons from Astrolabe and Rai Coast, Kaimalang Moses for himself and on behalf of 425 named persons from Rai Coast, Peter Sel on behalf of himself and 122 named persons from Rai Coast, Barthly Andrew for himself and on behalf of 230 named persons from Rai Coast, Micha Wasa Kosi on behalf of 348 per- sons from Rai Coast, Asru Masil on behalf of 82 people of Rai Coast, Willie Mathew on behalf of 71 persons, Sauma Hangi on behalf of 77 people, John Simoi on behalf of 389 persons of Sumkar, Michael Barui on behalf of 1398 people of Sumkar, Henry Amath on behalf of 1233 people of Sumkar, Steven Aren on behalf of 510 people of Sumkar and Kautil Mamari on behalf of 373 people of Sumkar.
The plaintiffs and the people they represent are asking the court to make:
a) A declaration that the Defendant committed public nuisance;
b) A declaration that the Defendant committed private nuisance;
c) A declaration that the Defendant is strictly liable for its conduct by continuously dumping of the tailings and other mine waste into Basamuk and Astralobe Bay: and
d) A declaration that the Defendant committed negligence
Mr Lomai said that they will be asking the court to make a declaration that the continuous activity by the Defendant, particularly the dumping of tailings and waste into Astrolabe and Basamuk bays by the use of a chemical, DSTP which was in breach of the Environmental Act 2000 and was therefore unlawful.
The court will also be asked to order the current DSTP located offshore from Basamuk Refinery be relocated back inland to a designated area within the SML, subject to proper environmental, engineering and design and construction recommendations. Other orders sought are:
- An order that the permanent injunction restraining the Defendant by itself, its servants or agents or otherwise, from committing the said nuisance and negligence and to injure the Plaintiffs and the people they represent in their use and enjoyment of their customary land and water rights that a permanent injunction restraining the Defendant from destroying the offshore environment in any way and from dumping waste and tailings into Astrolabe and Basamuk Bays in accordance with the Ramu Nickel Environmental Plan 1999 Approval or at all;
- A declaration that the Plaintiffs’ rights to the use and enjoyment of their customary land and water rights and the rights of the people they represent, have been breached and that they have suffered as a direct consequence of the Defendant’s dumping of tailings and toxic waste activity by the use of DSTP, the Refinery dusts and fumes as well as the slurry spillage;
- An order that the Defendant compensate and or pay damages to the Plaintiffs and the people they represent in the sum of K18 billion and alternatively, such compensatory damages referred to paragraph 690) be assessed;
- An order that the Defendant and the Madang province government in consultation with CEPA and MRA, within 30 days from the date of this, order, take remedial steps to clean the environment that had been contaminated by the activity of the Defendant and that such remediation costs, to be properly assessed by remedial experts, shall be paid by the Defendant; and
- An order that the Defendant pay the Madang provincial government K1.6 million as special damages forthwith.
MCC yesterday was contacted but they advised Post-Courier that they have not been served the court injunction but are prepared to counter the case.