PNG PLAINTIFFS ASK COURT TO STOP MINE

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INTIMIDATION
Ramu NiCo allegedly threatened to fire employees

By Todagia. Kelola PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct.12, 2010) – DEVELOPER of the Ramu Nickel project, Ramu Nico Management Ltd has been slapped with a contempt of court.

Principal plaintiff in the legal proceedings challenging the marine waste dumping plans by the Ramu NiCo Management, Louis Medaing has filed contempt proceedings against the mining company for allegedly assaulting, threatening and intimidating the members of the Tong and Ongeg clans that make up the plaintiffs to withdraw from or discontinue the proceedings against the company.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Medaing said he had instructed his lawyers who filed a contempt of court proceeding against the Mining Company as of yesterday.

"I instituted the legal proceedings on 24th September 2010 being WS1192 of 2010 to seek a permanent injunction to restrain Ramu Nico Management Ltd from dumping 5 million tones of mine waste into Astrolabe Bay annually, on behalf of myself and at this stage 38 members of the Tong and Ongeg clans from the Rai Coast. A further 37 more clan members are seeking to join the proceedings this week. "Since the legal proceedings were filed in the National Court in Madang, my family and clan members have been put under intense pressure by the mine owners, Ramu NiCo Management Ltd to discontinue the court case." Clan members of Tong and Ongeg who make up the plaintiffs and are not employees of Ramu NiCo Management Ltd have been threatened that unless they withdraw or discontinue the proceedings, all Tong and Ongeg clan members employed by Ramu NiCo Management Ltd will be sacked.

For those members who are employees of Ramu Nico Management Ltd they have been individually told to sign documents to withdraw them from the case, on threat of termination from employment.

Because of this intimidation, he said he has filed an application in the National Court for punishment for contempt of court against Ramu NiCo Management Ltd and its employees namely Jacky Wang and Tonny Nongi including a ward councilor Dongembu Dugai, for assaulting, threatening and intimidating the plaintiffs to withdraw or discontinue the proceedings.

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