The Ownership of Minerals and Petroleum in Papua New Guinea: A Comment

  • R.S. O'Regan QC


In a valuable article in the last issue of this Journal, Kibuta Ongwamuhana and Anthony Regan discussed, but left open, the question whether mineral and petroleum resources in Papua New Guinea belong to the State or to the customary landowners on whose land those resources are located.1 They also pointed out that the Courts in that country have not yet given an authoritative answer or indeed any hint of an answer to the question.2 However, at a time when a number of vast mining enterprises have been established or projected it is important to examine the matter further. All of these operations are or will be unlawful if the present statutory regime which governs them and which asserts State ownership of minerals and petroleum is itself held to be unlawful. It will be submitted in this article that the legality of State ownership is beyond question and that, if it is proposed to give customary landowners proprietary interests in these resources as distinct from rights to royalties, then the present laws will have to be repealed and replaced by others framed in terms apt to accomplish this result.
Dec 1, 1992
How to Cite
O'REGAN QC, R.S.. The Ownership of Minerals and Petroleum in Papua New Guinea: A Comment. QUT Law Review, [S.l.], v. 8, p. 141-145, dec. 1992. ISSN 2201-7275. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 01 feb. 2021. doi:
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