Monday, February 04, 2013

Ok Tedi villagers back prime minister

Source: The National, Monday, February 4, 2013

LANDOWNER umbrella group Ok Tedi Mine Impacted Area Association (OTMIAA) says it fully supports the stand of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill not to be pushed by either BHP Biliton or PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) into extending mine life to 2025.
OTMIAA president Nick Bunn said his association represented nine regions of the Ok Tedi impacted area communities, comprising 165 villages of more than 100,000 people and would support O’Neill until all issues affecting the people and Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) communities were sorted out.
“The 16 leaders of the nine regions, who are members of OTMIAA, have pledged to work together with the government to ensure that all the long-standing concerns and issues relating to environmental damage impacting on human health and social welfare within the CMCA regions are sorted out before any mine life extension can be considered,” he said.
Bunn called on the prime minister to urgently set up a royal commission of inquiry, headed by prominent and eminent international scientists and jurists, to investigate the whole Ok Tedi saga and report the findings to the government for action to be taken.
 Bunn highlighted the following concerns:

  • The Ok Tedi 9th supplemental agreement act must be reviewed and amended to get rid of BHP control and manipulation; 
  • The memorandum of agreement (MoA) 2006-07 was overdue for review;
  • Overdue dividend payments held within the Western province People’s Dividend Trust (WPPDT) must be released to the CMCA people’s entity immediately as promised in the MOA of  June 29,  2007;
  • Landowner issues within the Bige dredging lease mining purpose (LMP) 37 and LMP 79 pyrite storage pond area must be sorted out;
  • Issues raised by villages along the Fly River system which are affected by mine waste but were not included in the CMCA agreement must be sorted out;
  • Deteriorating health, nutrition and water issues in the whole Fly River system;
  • Landownership issues within the mine lease area (MLA) currently going through court; and
  • Landowner local business development, localisation and training programmes need to be prioritised.

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