Monday, 27 July 2020
The National Executive Council has recently approved the appointment of a Special Lands Titles Commission, to look into landownership issues over the Kainantu Gold mine project in the Eastern Highlands Province.
It will hear disputes which are long outstanding that previous attempts have failed.
The Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape said Section 4 of the Land Disputes Settlements Act 1975 states, where there is a special circumstance like the Kainantu mine, the Head of State through advice from NEC must appoint a special Commission to settle those disputes.
“The work of the Special Lands Titles Commission for the Kainantu Gold project is to hear and settle differences and issues of claimants over land tenements covering four leases amongst the Irumafimpa and Bilimoia villages and the Kumian Plains.
A total of 66 claimants were registered as disputing parties with majority from Eastern Highlands and a few from Madang and Morobe provinces.
The formal hearings commenced in Kainantu on 6 December 2004 and proceeded until 22 December 2007 and a decision was handed down on12 January 2009.
“But, the disputing parties who are not happy with the decision appealed and their appeal is pending,’’ said Prime Minister Marape.
The NEC decision to appoint the Special Lands Tittles Commission with three special Commissioners is to review that decision made on 12 January 2009 by a Peter Toliken, who was sitting as a single Lands Titles Commissioner between 2003 and 2009.
“Therefore, this is a special circumstance where previous attempts at mediation have failed and the long standing disputes have resulted in serious breaches of peace and security amongst affected communities.
“There is no possibility that the disputing clans will reach an agreement and it is in the national interest that the disputes be settled in some other manner,’’ he said.
The areas that were and are under dispute by claimants are:
- Mining Lease-ML150-where the ore mining area at Irumafimpa and Bilimoia villages
- Lease for Mining purpose LMP No.78 where workers accommodation and processing plant site will be located;
- Mining Easement No.80 where the access road from the Ramu River bridge to LMP No. 78 be built;
- And Mining Easement No.81 where the haul road from LMP No. 78 to the ore mining area will be built.
The Commission will be chaired by Steven Oli, Esther Gaegaming and Sam Parakali as special Commissioners.