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Tribunal rejects government move to dismiss Ok Tedi case


A tribunal of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes has rejected an attempt by the O’Neill government to strike out PNG Sustainable Development’s case seeking restitution of the company’s 63.4% shareholding in the Ok Tedi mine.

The chairman of PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd, Sir Mekere Morauta, welcomed the tribunal’s decision to allow the case to proceed and to reject the government’s objections.

“This is very good news for the people of Western Province,” Sir Mekere said. “It means that the second of PNGSDP’s court battles to protect its investments is off to a strong start.

“The ICSID decision gives the people good reason to hope that PNGSDP will ultimately be able to resume sustainable development in the province funded by the dividends from the mine.”

The decision is the first part in the process to get ICSID to order the O’Neill government to give back the company’s shareholding in Ok Tedi, or pay proper compensation for its expropriation in September last year.

The O’Neill government had asked the tribunal to strike out the claim on the basis that PNGSDP’s claims had no legal merit.

Sir Mekere said PNGSDP looked forward to the case going ahead.

“We welcome the ICSID decision and look forward to putting our arguments in the next phase of the proceedings,” he said.

“The O’Neill Government’s expropriation of PNGSDP’s investment in Ok Tedi, and other actions the Government has taken against PNGSDP, have unlawfully and immorally deprived the people of Western Province of the sustainable development benefits to which they are entitled through PNGSDP.

“PNGSDP will continue to fight for the rights and benefits of Western Province. We have a legal and moral duty to do so.”


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