Another delay in Ramu judgement

OWNERS of the $US1.5 billion ($A1.41 billion) Ramu nickel project in Papua New Guinea will have to wait another month to hear whether they can proceed with subsea tailings development after being advised of a four week judgement extension by the Madang National Court.
Another delay in Ramu judgement Another delay in Ramu judgement Another delay in Ramu judgement Another delay in Ramu judgement Another delay in Ramu judgement

The judgement was scheduled to be handed down on May 23, but has been deferred until June 22.

It follows a plaintiff by Rai Coast landowner Louis Medaing, who lodged a legal challenge in October last year to prevent the dumping of tailings at the site, citing a potential nusance claim in relation to the use of the controversial process.

Her challenge came hard on the heels of a number of other plaintiffs that successfully won an interim injunction in March last year, preventing further work on the subsea tailings site.

However, they subsequently pulled out of their court action in September, lifting the court-ordered temporary injunction in the process.

The project is being developed by RamuNiCo, a 61%-owned subsidiary of China Metallurgical Construction Corporation as project manager, with other Chinese partners including Jinchuan group, Jilin Jien Nickel Industry Co and Jiguan Iron and Steel (Group) Co.

Australian junior Highlands Pacific owns an 8.56% share.

Highlands Pacific chief financial officer Craig Lennon told PNGIndustryNews.net's sister publication MiningNews.net the news was disappointing.

"We will just have to wait and hope it is the last delay," he said.

"But once the injunction is removed we can start commissioning the plant. The tailings pipeline and mine site, including the beneficiation plant, has already been ore commissioned."

Ramu is expected to produce 31,150 tonnes of nickel and 3300t of cobalt per annum in a high-grade concentrate over a 20-year mine life, but resources have potential to increase this by a further 20-30 years.

Production was expected to start next month, with a staged ramp-up through the December quarter.

This story first appeared in PNGIndustryNews.net's sister publication, MiningNews.net

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