Lawyers for a landowner group won an injunction against a mine’s submarine tailings disposal on the basis of a lack of a free and independent environmental plan, as is a prerequisite to their licensing by the Department of Environment and Conservation. The Government has now responded to this by creating a law which will block indigenous Papuans being able to object to projects that are in the “national interest”, once the government has issued a certificate of approval. This goes against international precedents and trends, as well as cultural values concerning land. Powes Parkop, Governor of the National Capital District and a former human rights advocate, has released copies of his letter objecting to this move as “a total sell out of the sovereign rights and interest of the people of PNG”.
Among the mining companies with an interest in PNG are Barrick (Canadian, but with finance from London) and London-based Rio Tinto.