Dentons Rodyk & Davidson has successfully represented the Singapore- registered PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) in its long-running legal battle against Papua New Guinea, which was represented by WongPartnership.

PNGSDP was established in 2001 when oil major BHP Billiton divested its majority share in the lucrative Ok Tedi copper mine in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province. Under a deal that gave BHP immunity from environmental claims, the company agreed to transfer its 52 percent stake in the mine to PNGSDP, a not-for-profit company incorporated in Singapore.

In 2013, the PNG government expropriated Ok Tedi Mine from PNDSDP, and sought control of its SDP's Singapore-based long-term fund, with about $1.4 billion in assets, for the Western province.

However, the Singapore High Court ruled against the PNG government, holding that it had "failed entirely" in its claim over PNGSDP.

The Ok Tedi mine, located in a mountainous region, has been operating since the 1980s. It has been blamed for substantial environmental damage caused by dumping millions of tonnes of toxic mine waste into the river systems.

The Dentons Rodyk & Davidson team was led by Philip Jeyaretnam SC, while the WongPartnership team was led by Alvin Yeo SC.

 

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