Friday, September 3, 2010

Plaintiffs withdraw from Ramu tailings

THE principal plaintiff in the Ramu nickel project court case is withdrawing from the National Court proceedings which has halted construction of its deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) in Basamuk Bay, Madang. Sama Melambo announced that he (fifth plaintiff) and Pommern ILG (fourth plaintiff) had also filed court papers to seek leave and await the government the project developer, Ramu NiCo, to come up with satisfactory environment and development package forthe people of Rai Coast, which includes Basamuk. In a separate but related move four LLG presidents and a magistrate of the area filed affidavits in the Madang National Court on Monday saying that they had not authorized the first, second and third plaintiffs to be party to the proceedings initiated in March against RamuNiCo and the state. A spokesman for Ramu NiCo said yesterday the company was aware of the latest turn of events but would not comment at this stage because the case was still pending. Melambo, Pommern ILG, Eddie Tarsie, Farina Siga and Peter Sel had been granted an interim court order on the DSTP offshore facility construction claiming that the system was environmentally harmful. The matter will be heard by the Madang National Court on Dec 21. However, Melambosaid in a media statement on Monday that he and Pommern ILG were withdrawing from the case in the national interest. “The greater good of all citizens requires that this litigation not fester and endanger a national project. “We have laid our concerns before our government and we are confident the government will answer the legitimate cries of the forgotten people of Rai Coast. “Personally, I have worked hard as the officer in charge of occupational health and safety and environment for Ramu nickel project to see it come to fruition. “I am not about stopping it or closing it down. I want to see it progress on proper footing. This is the Madang way.” He said he, the Pommern LLG and Saidor LLG were satisfied that they now had the full attention of the political leadership and that of the Ramu NiCo management about their concerns. “It was never my intention or that of Pommern Bay LLG and Saidor LLG to stop mining in Ramu and hold the country toransom. “It was not our intention to stop deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system. “Rather it was always our intention to ensure that the laws are fully complied with and our development needs in what is a world-class project area be properly addressed, and the environment be properly protected and managed.”

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