By MALUM NALU
Western province villagers numbering more than 100.000 have unanimously agreed that Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) continue mine operations until 2025, according to managing director and chief executive officer, Nigel Parker.
He said the feasibility study for mine life extension (MLE) was now with government agencies for consideration.
Parker confirmed this yesterday when asked to give the latest on MLE.
“The mine- associated communities, numbering 156 individual villages, located from the mine area down through the Western province to the coast, have all unanimously agreed that the mine continue out to 2025,” he told The National.
|Sialowa village on Sturt Island in the South Fly area along the Fly River …villages want OTML to continue until 2025.-Picture by MALUM NALU|
“ The community mine continuation extension agreements (CMCEA) were all signed by the nine community region representatives, representing the 156 villages, in early December after a three-year consultation process guided by independent PNG facilitators, government agency representatives, the World Bank, PNGSDPL (PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd, 64% shareholder in OTML) and observed by two independent external observers.
“The feasibility study for mine life extension is with the respective government agencies for consideration.”
Parker said last month at the PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference in Sydney that majority of people wanted the mine to continue operations.
Recently, three MPs called for the closure of the mine, citing the site poses both health and environmental risks.
Parker said this seemed to be at odds with what the communities wanted.
"The communities definitely wants the mine to continue, and are unequivocal about that," he said.
"I am sure the elected politicians have the communities at heart, and if they do get reports coming through of unidentified medical issues I am sure they would react, and possibly that is why they are reacting so much.
"I have personally signed on the company's behalf those agreements and the people are extraordinarily happy with Ok Tedi Mining Limited, with the continuation of the mine.”