PNG LEADERSHIP APPLAUDS LIFTING OF MINE INJUNCTION

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Acting Prime Minister Polye cites national interest

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Sept. 28, 2010) – Acting Prime Minister Don Polye yesterday welcomed the decision by the National Court in Madang to allow

operations at the Ramu nickel mine to resume.

Operations at the mine had been halted since March 19 as a result of a court action by villagers relating to possible damages to the environment through the deep sea tailings disposal.

The operator, Ramu NiCo of China, said the stop work had caused them hundreds of millions of kina.

Plaintiffs to the proceeding changed their mind about the case and withdrew, prompting the court to lift the injunction last Friday.

Polye said yesterday the court decision had created a win-win situation for all stakeholders, including government and landowners.

"I commend the judiciary for being mindful of national interest when determining the merits of the issues brought by the parties involved in the case," Polye said.

"I commend the plaintiffs for their bold decision in withdrawing their case.

"I am glad they now fully appreciate the facts about this project, and are prepared to work with the developer and the government to achieve our goals.

"This project will benefit all of us."

The acting prime minister commended Works and Transport vice-minister and Rai Coast MP James Gau, Madang Governor Sir Arnold Amet and Mining Minister John Pundari for their efforts in resolving this issue.

"This action by the plaintiffs show one thing, which I have said all along, and that is

the failure to raise sufficient awareness on this issue.

"There has been a lot of misinformation about this project.

"People are twisting facts.

"Certain people took advantage of this by trying to portray the government as being corrupt in pushing this project," he said.

"With proper awareness, we now know what the facts are, and the plaintiffs are taking the correct and necessary steps so this project can proceed."

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