Data source
Date of text
19 Mar 2010
Seat of court
Port Moresby
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
[2010] PGNC 75; N3960 (19 March 2010)
Court name
National Court of Papua New Guinea
Cannings J.

This was one of a number of cases considering the Ramu Nickel Project in the Madang Province in Papua New Guinea. The plaintiffs asserted that they were customary landowners and sought a permanent injunction to prevent the development of the Ramu Nickel Project on the basis of its alleged environmental impact. They claimed that this would harm the marine environment of the Astrolabe Bay, and in turn, their sources of income and food. This case considered the motions and interlocutory injunctions before the court at the first instance. Several orders were sought by the plaintiffs.

The first order was an interim injunction to prevent “coral blasting” before the determination of the substantive proceedings. It was found that all of the questions to be asked in determining whether such an injunction should be granted were met. Importantly, it was emphasised that “on the face of it” the plaintiffs concerns were legitimate, that there were serious questions to be tried raised under the Environment Act 2000 and that damages would not prove an adequate remedy.

The second order sought was that the developers should fund an independent environmental impact assessment. This was denied on the basis of being substantive relief therefore not appropriate given the interlocutory nature of the injunction.

The final order sought was that the plaintiffs be provided with all environmental plans and approvals. It was held that there was insufficient argument to show that such a general order should be made and that there are more appropriate means of getting these documents.


(Summary provided by Friedrich Kuepper from the Queensland University of Technology)