Collingwood Bay. (Photo Eric Wakker/RAN)
Collingwood Bay communities take on threat of mining after SABL land grab victory
Communities in the Collingwood Bay area of Oro Province are fighting plans for mining on their customary land. Earlier this year they won a court victory against illegal leases for logging and oil palm.
The communities made their opposition clear at a Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) sponsored Warden Hearing which was held on 17 December. The MRA was seeking the landowners consent on a proposed extension of a exploration tenement over Maisin and Wanigela land.
The tenement is held by Niugini Nickel, a wholly owned subsidiary of Resource Mining Corporation, an Australian company that is 43% owned by a Sinom (Hong Kong) Limited.
The landowners who attended the hearing refused to give their endorsement to the extension.
They told the MRA that they just won their land back and are not prepared to talk land now. Secondly they were not given sufficient time to deliberate on the purpose of the Wardens hearing nor were they given proper information about tenement extension and scheduled hearing. The landowners also said they prefer to have their learned children present at any future hearing so they can guide the discussions and making decisions.
In May The National Court in Port Moresby declared that two Special Agriculture and Business Leases covering 38,350 hectares of Colingwood Bay land were null and void and ordered the Sate to cancel the title deeds..
The leases were originally issued in July 2012 to two PNG registered companies, Sibu Management Limited and Wanigela Agro Industrial Limited. But in October 2012 Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) a Malaysian oil palm company announced that, together with Malaysian investment company Batu Kawan, it had acquired the rights to the land – via a third company, Collingwood Bay Plantations.