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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post Courier, Nov. 7) – The Kokopo district court of Papua New Guinea last week struck out a case brought forth by a group from Rakunai seeking a court declaration that the group be recognized as members of a legitimate landowner group from the Sinivit gold mine.

The Vondaivop group made up of six sub-clans from Rakunai and Taulil in the Gazelle District sought court declaration that the group be recognized as members of Uramat Baining clan and should benefit from the Mt Sinivit gold mine project in East New Britain.

[PIR Editor’s Note: New Britain comprises the large island northeast of Papua New Guinea’s mainland peninsula.]

After assessing the nature of the complaint filed by the group, the Kokopo district court found no basis in native custom that would give effect for the court to proceed. Magistrate Dessie Magaru, in handing down the court’s ruling, said the court could not find any basis to link the group to the Sinivit landowners and threw out the case.

The Vondaivop group claimed they were part of the landowners through a great grandmother who married into the clan many years ago. In August this year, the Vunadaivo group filed court proceedings resulting in the district court appearance last week. The Uramat clan of Baining said the Rakunai group was never part of them and they did not recognize them as landowners.

Chairman of the clan, Hosea Kailam said the clan now hoped that this would be the end of the case. But, he said, should the Vunadaivo group decided to take the matter further, then they would defend it in court.

Sinivit gold mine, soon to be established in the wild dog area in Baining of East New Britain province is the first gold mine of the province.

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