Saturday, January 30, 2010
Land Titles Commissioners sworn in
THE NEW land titles commissioners for the Ramu nickel project were sworn in at the Government House on Wednesday last week.
The commissioners, Justice Don Sawong, former Attorney General Michael Gene and Micah Pitpit were appointed at the NEC Meeting No. 09/2009 to deal with the Ramu nickel/cobalt mine project area in Madang Province. A third commissioner will be sworn in later to replace Justice Don Sawong who has been sworn in as a judge in the National Court by Cabinet last year.
After the swearing in, Commissioner Michael Gene said they will commence work as soon as possible because there are more than 300 groups of people claiming to be landowners. Mr. Gene said after sourcing funds from the government, they would sort out administrative and logistics arrangements and start working on the affected area.
He said the Ramu nickel/cobalt project is important for the benefit of the country in terms of the economy and social developments. He added one of the objectives is to give security to the landowners; therefore there must be some kind of rules to guide the proceedings on the benefit sharing agreements. He said claimants must come through the mediation process, which is sanctioned and they (landowners) have some user rights.
Apart from that they will have to meet with stakeholders whilst in Madang to solve some other outstanding issues so that the Ramu nickel project flows smoothly.
Mr. Gene said equity and royalty benefits must be signed up with legitimate identified landowners to avoid inconveniences to the state, developer and landowners. He said this is because currently some genuine landowners have been left out.