PNG Sustainable Development Program today supported recent statements by Community Mine Continuation Agreement leaders rejecting the Government's proposed expropriation of Ok Tedi Mining Limited.
PNGSDP CEO David Sode said the CMCA leaders were right and were entitled to their expressed views: the Government takeover of a mine owned 100 percent by the people of Papua New Guinea, without paying them compensation, is unacceptable, not only in PNG but anywhere in the world.
"Any such takeover strips away the right of the CMCA people to have the final say in whether the mine continues or not, and threatens their involvement in decisions on the appropriate level of compensation for environmental damage," he said.
"It also puts at risk the receipt and management of their rightful share of dividends from the mine, and the social and economic development that is provided from those dividends. It also takes away their rightful share of dividend flows from the mine."
Mr Sode said it was important that full consultations should take place as they had for every other major decision on the mine, including the Ok Tedi Mine Continuation Ninth Supplemental Agreement Act 2001, the 2006-2007 Review of the CMCA and just last year the Mine Life Extension proposal now before the Government.
It is apparent that The CMCA had not been fully consulted in this case until the leaders took matters into their own hands and insisted that the Prime Minister meet them in Tabubil in August. The Prime Minister has not responded to the concerns expressed by the CMCA leaders at the Tabubil meeting.
"The Prime Minister has a moral as well as legal obligation to consult the people who own the resource and are the only people in the country affected by any environmental impact from the operation of the mine," Mr Sode said.
"Why has the Western Province in general and the CMCA communities in particular not been consulted?
"The Government's proposals change everything, yet there has not been one bit of consultation. There needs to be full consultation with all Western Province people before any decision can be made."
He said PNGSDP, as custodian of the Western Province people's shares in OTML, shares CMCA concerns for the future well-being of the mine-impacted communities, including mine area landowners."
PNGSDP supports the continuation of the PNGSDP-CMCA arrangements.
PNGSDP has a clear legal and moral duty to protect the interests of the CMCA communities and Western Province and to protect the value of the assets that it holds on their behalf, Mr Sode said.
He pointed out the dangerous precedent being set by the Prime Minister and members of Parliament who vote in favor of such expropriation bills in attempting to exercise improper use of the legislative powers to steal the Western Province’s inheritance.
"Is he going to get away with this and is it going to be repeated elsewhere?
"Resource owners throughout PNG should be aware of the precedent being set and stand up for their rights and support the CMCA leaders."
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer