Prior to our client developing an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for a major hydropower project on the Purari River, SMEC were engaged to prepare a Resettlement Strategy Study.



Fortescue Future Industries PNG Concept Study Report (2021) assessed the hydropower potential of several catchment options. The Purari catchment system was selected due to its substantial power potential, proximity to a potential industrial area, and limited environmental and social impact. The river is found in the Gulf province of PNG, south-east of the central highlands, and approximately 90km inland from the Gulf of Papua coastline.


An assessment of the terrain along the river identified numerous suitable locations for construction of hydropower dams. This included the potential for involuntary or voluntary resettlement of local communities due to the construction of the dams, access roads and other infrastructure required for this project.



Our teams’ key objectives for the Resettlement Strategy Study were to:

  • Provide a detailed understanding of the resettlement context in PNG, to identify the key opportunities and challenges associated with resettlement.
  • Articulate the current national and international legal and best practice frameworks for resettlement process and identify gaps to align with the frameworks
  • Identify the likely quantum of resettlement required for the project (order of magnitude) for people and assets, and determine, at a high-level, the nature and extent of likely resettlement including physical and economic displacement to enable understanding of potential costs involved in resettlement


Our Impact

Based on our comprehensive strategy, SMEC developed a clear and implementable high-level roadmap for resettlement, including an overview of the resettlement requirements and activities to be undertaken for this vital hydropower project to progress to the development of an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment.


Talk to one of our specialists about our role on the Purari Critcal Works Resettlement Project.