From JAMES WANJIK
The feature story by Harlyne Joku "Hope for dying Ok Tedi River ...” Weekend Courier, Saturday, June 26, 2010 pp. 20-21 is a very one-sided
I would have thought Post-Courier would have been a leading light but not so.
Perhaps the funding for the trip and the discussions with the polluters may have overly swayed the reporter and the Post-Courier.
Several clarifications must be made to the story.
1. Law on Mineral Resources Authority is unconstitutional. MRA is operating illegally. MRA is also collecting illegal tax in illegal production levy from the miners including Ok Tedi mine. Post-Courier has not shown how it wants news readers to believe its story when it has not shown how ethical journalism is to their receiving payment for the trip and discussions only with the polluters.
2. Big dredging operations are not new. What would have been new are how much beneficial impact the dredging operations have meant for the river, off river water bodies, food sources and on lives of people who rely on the river, off river water bodies, and resources for living.
3. Dredging operations is primarily to serve Ok Tedi's interest. The sedimentation on the river bed is making Ok Tedi's copper barges having difficulty navigating the
4. BHP Billiton has not gone away yet. They are still at Ok Tedi. They are there through PNG Sustainable Development Program. And PNGSDP is not a PNG company. It is a Singapore-based company holding BHP's 52% interest for the benefit of PNG. PNG only owns 30% in Ok Tedi mine.
5. Environment management has never been a serious matter for Ok Tedi mine at any time. Not even now. Law has been used to protect Ok Tedi mine since its tailings dam collapsed in 1984. Acceptable Particulate Level (APL) was the first environmental regime. It resulted in higher copper level in fish stock in the
6. Legislation was used to continue riverine tailings and waste disposal. Let us be honest and truthful so that we can be judged by our readers fairly and justly.