Monday, December 15, 2014

Western province to own 33% of Ok Tedi mine

Prime Minister's Media

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has announced that the people of Western province will take possession of 33% ownership in Ok Tedi Mine Limited (OTML).
NEC approved the free transfer of equity in OTML following consultation between landowners, Governor Ati Wobiro and Western province officials, and the National Government. 
The balance of the remaining 67% of OTML is owned by people of Papua New Guinea through the State.
“This decision is fair and just, and it will be of great benefit to the people of Western province following decades of neglect,” O’Neill said.
“The people of Western province have long suffered extensive  environmental  harm that has been caused by the Ok Tedi mine.
“It is important that affected communities are recognised and receive compensation, while at the same time efforts continue to improve environmental practices at the mine.
“Representatives from the CMCA communities, mine villages and the Western provincial government  will  be  holding  further  discussions  to  propose  how  the  33%  will  be distributed.

O’Neill said the management and board of OTML would be very independent with the State and Western province together appointing three board members, while the remaining four would be independent experts including the chairman, who must be a Papua New Guinea citizen.
“The board arrangements will be unique for any State-owned enterprise and this is aimed at improving  governance  and  ensuring  transparency  while  bringing  in  worlds  best  practice  to OTML.”
O’Neill said the Ok Tedi mine was unique and is the product of a bygone era of governance and corporate social responsibility.
“It was a different world when Ok Tedi was established, when respect for the environment and downstream health issues were not given the same level of concern as they are today,” he said.
“The unprecedented environmental harm has affected almost the whole of Western province. “We cannot change the past but we have the opportunity to create a brighter future for the
people of Western Province.
“The  government  is  committed  to  improving  the  living  standards  of  the  people  of  Western
“For too long the people of Western province have suffered from treatable diseases and today are facing the challenge of multi drug resistant TB. This is not acceptable.”
O’Neill  said  people  in  Western  province  were  also  determined  to  be  given possession of the substantial amount of money held by the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) that was subject to an ongoing court hearing in Singapore.
“The Government wants to see the money being held by the PNGSDP returned to the people of Western province,” he said.
“That money should be put to use now to improve the living standards for the people of Western
province and not whittled away by people from outside the province.
“The money in the long term fund held by PNGSDP belongs to the people of Western province and it must be given to them.”


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