BY MARTYN NAMORONG
HIS HONOUR Mr Justice David Cannings, has handed down his decision regarding a permanent injunction to prevent a Deep Sea Tailings Program (DSTP) in the Bismarck Sea.
But, while holding that the project would cause “serious environmental harm”, he has declined to grant a permanent injunction.
Justice Cannings reasoned that there had been some delay by the plaintiffs in commencing proceedings and that Ramu Nico had been led to believe by the State that it had approval to operate a DSTP without the prospect of disruptions.
He also said the interests of the company and livelihoods of people who depend on the mine would be adversely affected and that the defendants were making genuine efforts to put in place effective monitoring protocols.
“Despite the plaintiffs having established a cause of action in private and public nuisance and that the proposed activity is contrary to National Goal No 4,” Justice Canning said, “the court declined to grant the injunction sought”
In other words, the judge recognised that the grievances brought to the court by the plaintiffs were genuine and that much of the evidence presented by the plaintiffs’ lawyer was satisfactory; and he concurred with the plaintiffs arguments that the DSTP would cause “serious environmental harm.”
There was a sombre tone in the Madang court house and as people emerged after the decision was handed down.
A few landowners from the mine site were visibly relieved along with representatives from the developer MCC. The plaintiffs were distraught and made their way out quickly. No one was available for immediate comment and reaction.