PNG GOLD MINE WINS CASE TO REMOVE LANDOWNERS

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New Guinea Gold to pursue negotiations with locals

By Elizabeth Vuvu PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 3, 2012) – Mining company New Guinea Gold (NGG) has won a court order to remove landowners from its Mt. Sinivit site in East New Britain but has opted to remain in negotiations to settle landowner grievances.

The company last week halted operations at Mt. Sinivit after landowners moved in on the mine site.

It said it had received a letter on Dec. 12 from lawyers on behalf of Lulai Nakama Association over outstanding royalties.

The letter warned of shutting down NGG’s mining operations at Mt. Sinivit if the company failed to pay the royalties.

The royalties were released but the protesters remained at the site.

The Waigani National Court last Friday ordered the landowners off the mine and for work to resume.

Both parties had agreed to pursue negotiations to reach a settlement.

Donald Wesley, lawyer assisting the landowners, told a meeting at Gazelle International Hotel that any other issues that both parties agree on would be taken back to court for "some endorsement".

NGG mine manager Eric Namaliu said the company was keen to resolve the outstanding issues step by step rather than resuming operations immediately.

A follow-up meeting was set for Jan 11.

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