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Jan 23, 2018

Locals File Legal Case Against Nautilus

KarKar Islanders walkathon against seabed mining
KarKar Islanders walkathon against seabed mining

The Alliance of Solwara Warriors has filed a legal case against the PNG government at the Waigani National Court on Thursday 7th, December 2017.  

The Alliance of Solwara Warriors (local villages) based in the west coast of New Ireland Province  has called on the government to openly discuss necessary and relevant documents related to seabed mining.  The available records should identify who was involved in approving the project and on what grounds and why it was approved.

A local leader from west coast New Ireland and a member of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors says that people in the villages strongly oppose seabed mining, as it will directly affect their lives as they depend entirely on the sea for their livelihood. 

The impacts of this project are unknown at this stage with no independent environmental studies having taken place.

Should the project proceed serious negative impacts will arise in the local and national economy with great constraints placed on local fishing cooperatives, fisheries sector and informal eco-tourism sector for the people.  

Nautilus never consulted the local people in regards to the project. Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) did not take place anywhere in the communities that will be impacted by the project.

Individuals signed the MOA for the Solwara 1 project with very little attention given to the local people’s concerns.    

People in New Ireland continuously stated that they own both the land and the sea and the mining will greatly affect their lifestyle with shark calling will be an obvious case of a dying culture.  

New Ireland does not need Seabed mining. It has the sea, fish, cocoa and coconut and other renewable resources with sustainable benefits. 

Support from around PNG is starting to increase. The people of KarKar Island in Madang Province where Nautilus first tried to invade but were pushed back by the local people raised K1500.00 through a walkathon all around the island to support the people in New Ireland.

Alliance of Solwara Warriors all across the Bismarck Sea have now collectively stood up in solidarity to put pressure on Nautilus to pack up and leave.  

Where the destruction is scheduled to begin
Where the destruction is scheduled to begin
Dusk in area Nautilus wants to "mine"
Dusk in area Nautilus wants to "mine"
Dawn in the area Nautilus seeks to "mine"
Dawn in the area Nautilus seeks to "mine"
Nov 7, 2017

Victory against the Odd

Settlers properties destroyed during eviction 2011
Settlers properties destroyed during eviction 2011

The Mabanob and the Masuba Clan have proclaimed victory in their fight to reclaim their land from the contentious extractive PMIZ industrial project. The Milinat Plantation in Kananam was a contentious issue among various tribal groups as the land was illegal acquired by one local corrupts individual and equally corrupt, power-hungry politicians. Local people in that area have been facing a difficult time trying to get their stolen land back. The land had illegally been transferred to one particular person – and his company Savalon Security that provides security for outstanding involved in the land theft in the area.

The National Court in Madang granted favor to the landowners within the disputed project area. The Court through the resident Judge Cannings ordered the Lands and Physical Planning and Registrar of titles to ensure that landowners of Milinch of Krangket Fourmill in Madang get their land titles returned.

The court’s decision issued on Friday October 13th 2017, ruled that land portions 1216, 1217, 1057, 1059, 1060, and 1061 on the Milinch of Krangket will be forfeited to the state and given back to the genuine landowners. Also the court ordered the Lands and Physical Planning and the Registrar of titles to take all necessary steps to make sure that the earlier order is effective for the transfer all titles back to the state to be made available to the rightful landowners.

The court also sternly declared that the local thug and his company Savalon Security Limited compensate all fourteen (14) plaintiffs K3000 – a total of K42,000 - for total damage caused to properties and lives. He has been given two (2) months to complete the payments.

People residing or thinking they have bought land and settled in these portions of land must vacate the land as per the court decision.


Displaced settlers
Displaced settlers
The controversial PMIZ in Madang Papua New Guinea
The controversial PMIZ in Madang Papua New Guinea
Oct 30, 2017

BRG Change Story-A Fail Forward Submission

Investigative Analysis ESM Duke of York Island
Investigative Analysis ESM Duke of York Island


Bismarck Ramu Group CHANGE STORY

ABOUT Bismarck Ramu Group


The Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG) is an offshoot of the Bismarck Ramu Group Interacted and Development Project (BRICADP). This was a 5 year project jointly administered and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Department of Environment and Conservation which is the current Conservation Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) and an NGO called the Christensen Research Institute (CRI).

The project started in 1996 and ended in 1999. The objective of the project was to conserve the Bismarck Ramu Area situated between Jiwaka, Simbu and Madang Provinces of Papua New Guinea. The area is a biodiversity hotspot encompassing unique flora and fauna.

The boundaries of the project area were the Bismarck Range in Jiwaka, the Marum River flowing from Mt Wilhem in Simbu to Madang; the Simbai River flowing from Jiwaka to Madang and the Ramu River in Madang.

Lessons learnt from other development projects in the country including the Lak Integrated Conservation and Development Project (LICADP) in New Ireland province guided the formation of the BRICADP ensuring NOT to repeat the mistakes done in those projects.

The Bismarck Ramu Group Integrated Conservation (BRICAD) and the Lak ICAD failed projects provided the basis for BRG to restructure and refocus its work to suit the present pressing development issues. These projects provided very vital challenges which has set the priority for BRG to refocus its work . Failure of these projects resulted from overspending and decline of financial resources hence undermining the local resource owners’ ability to take up conservation and development work conscientiously. Financial resources and cargo mentaility in development have been identified as disempowering and allowing deattachement in local resource areas with little emphasis on local people to be self-reliant to sustain development initiatives.

When BRICADP came to a close at the end of 2009, the BRICADP staff members continued to work with communities in the Bismarck Ramu Area under the Bismarck Ramu Group as an NGO.


The journey of BRG as an NGO commenced 2000 where the UNDP provided bridging funds for that year. This was to allow BRG to look for additional funding from elsewhere. The same year, the Inter-church Organization for Development Corporation (ICCO) from the Netherlands and Bread for the World from Germany jointly funded BRG.

Below is a timeline with bullet points of the most significant shifts/changes in the life of the BRG:


  • BRG was officially registered with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) in March 2001.
  • An independent team evaluation team was put together to find out if BRG had the capacity to run as an NGO.
  • The goal was to continue to conserve the environment.
  • The 7-Step Community Development Process (CDP) and the Conservation Process utilized in engaging with communities and continued to be refined. These processes were organic and home grown; basically based on field experience.
  • BRG started to work with other communities outside of the Bismarck Ramu Area.
  • 3 programs – Community Development, Education and Church
  • Target groups mainly were communities, churches and schools


  • BRG refocused, its goal changed from conservation of the environment to land is life. This was with the help of an evaluation team that did the evaluation that year. The evaluation team found that BRG was much more into land than the environment. The Melanesian and holistic perspective of land was defined.
  • Church Program disbanded and replaced by the Campaign Program


  • Goal – Land is Life
  • Realization that the outside force was coming at a fast rate and having an impact in the lives of the people and their resources.
  • Because of the above, BRG came up with a 4 Step Community Development Process.
  • BRG concentrated more into helping communities to organize.
  • Community Development Workers changed to Community Organizers
  • Community Development Program was changed to Community Organizing
  • Literacy program was dropped
  • As part of teaching at the schools, the Education Program started using puppets in schools as one way of disseminating information.
  • More structure was put in the organization to guide the organization.
  • Realization in 2005-2006 the importance to organize and promote peoples’ development to strengthen its campaign against the dominant model of development. The concept of Appropriate Technology trialed in BRG but later disbanded in 2007.
  • At the end of 2010, Campaigns beefed up. Because of this, more attention was given to media


  • Had a much clearer understanding of the Model of Development and its connection to mining, logging, land grab etc.
  • Major restructure in BRG, this determined the strategies and approaches used
  • Goal was Land is Life
  • BRG changed its strategy of working with individual communities to working with key, organized, strategic and influential groups and institutions. BRG had to step up in-order to respond to the massive exploitation caused by the dominant model of development which was coming in at enormous speed.
  • The Community Organizing Program was changed to Community Facilitation
  • 3 programs – Media, Networking and Training
  • Came up with a 2 Step Community Development Process


  • Goal – Land is Life
  • Focused in challenging the dominant model of development, promoting PNG ways and investing in young people.
  • The Campaign program was dropped, the understanding was that the organization as a whole was campaigning.
  • No Community Development Process
  • Emphasis was on information gathering, processing, packaging and dissemination

 2015 to Now

  • Goal – Land is Life
  • Emphasis in being proactive, shaping and influencing the future
  • Targeting organized groups, organizations and institutions
  • More emphasis on rethinking development
  • Linking up with others in the region in challenging the beast.
  • Continue to focus not only in challenging the dominant model however promoting peoples’ ways of sustaining themselves and investing in young people.

Note: Elements of the life of the organization is captured in Race for the Rainforest Part 2, Cash verse Conservation, Through the Thicket etc.


This project report is a submission to GlobalGiving's 2017 Fail Forward Contest, where organizations are asked to share a story of when they tried something new that didn't go as planned and how they learned from it. Enjoy!





Community Awareness, Seabed mining KarKar Island.
Community Awareness, Seabed mining KarKar Island.
Fight to BAN Freida Mine in Sepik
Fight to BAN Freida Mine in Sepik
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