MAC: Mines and Communities

Papua New Guinea politicians demand Ok Tedi mine close in 2013

Published by MAC on 2011-05-30
Source: PostCourier, AAP (2011-05-25)

"BHP and government have made it a rubbish dump"

As the government of Bougainville and Rio Tinto call for a possible re-opening of the Panguna mine, political leaders in Papua New Guinea are, in stark contrast, now demanding closure of the Ok Tedi mine within two years.

This is the one project in the region bearing closest historical similarity to Panguna.

In a statement last week, the PNG political leaders declared that:

"We can no longer tolerate this blatant disregard for our river systems, land and the environment that our people live off ... The government has compromised our environmental laws by listening [to] utter rubbish from BHP.

"... Western Province is not a dumping ground but BHP and the national government have made it as a rubbish dump. This is an insult to our people and we cannot allow it to continue".

MPs: Ok Tedi mine must close in 2013

PostCourier

25 May 2011

POLITICAL leaders from the Western Province have made a unanimous decision for Ok Tedi mine to be closed in 2013.

Governor for Western Province Dr Bob Danaya, North Fly MP Boka Kondra, Middle Fly MP Roy Biyama and South Fly MP Sali Subam in a joint statement last week said the time has come to put an end to the Restated Ninth Supplemental Agreement which expired in 2010, the year the mine was initially planned to close.

They said it was important that the shareholders, PNG Sustainable Development Program and the State were mindful of this decision and that as a province they were putting them (shareholders) on notice.

The leaders said it was most disappointing that shareholders failed to give due respect to the legitimate provincial government and resource owners and those along the Kiunga Tabubil Highway and the Fly River corridors which has been devastated by severe environmental damage and river pollution.

The leaders said: "We can no longer tolerate this blatant disregard for our river systems, land and the environment that our people live off. Our people's lives are more important now and the future. Money cannot buy lives but has become a curse to our people who are now dying from lifestyle diseases. The toxic pollutants from the mine tailings continues to cause unusual medical disorders in those living along the OK Tedi and Fly River systems and also causing bizarre deaths," the text statement said.

"BHP (Australia) started mining by making bad decisions with total disregard for human lives. It was a death sentence for the people of Western Province. They even put an indemnity clause in the Ninth Supplemental Agreement so that no lawsuits will be taken up against BHP for any environmental damage from mine operations and this was supported by the government of PNG which has compromised the regulatory aspect of the mine," they said.

The statement stated that as a shareholder, the government of PNG was more concerned about profits from the mine rather than protecting the environment.

"The government has compromised our environmental laws by listening utter rubbish from BHP. This is inhuman and of course legally unconstitutional. I cannot understand that our own government put and approve laws through influence by a developer that would cause cultural genocide in Western Province.

"BHP never left PNG because one can see the same colours in PNGSDP. Who is PNGSDP one may ask? Who do they work for? What tangible benefits do they bring to Western Province? Many of the projects that PNGSDP has implemented in the province are not sustainable but are now becoming a burden to the people who see it as BHP leaving its liabilities behind.

"So much money goes to hiring very expensive consultants overseas who have done things that do not benefit the province and its people. There is so much duplication that millions of kina have been wasted and more rubbish is thrown at the people. Western Province is not a dumping ground but BHP and the national government have made it as a rubbish dump. This is an insult to our people and we cannot allow it to continue," they said.

In 2013, a new agreement will be drawn which will be drafted by the provincial government which will determine the shares and equity participation.


Greens query miners' political role in PNG

By Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Australian Associated Press (APP)

18 May 2011

Greens leader Bob Brown says he's concerned at the growing influence of Australian mining firms in Papua New Guinea.

A year out from PNG national elections, the United Resources Party (URP) reportedly raised $600,000 at a weekend function in Port Moresby attended by a number of international business leaders including one of Australia's richest men Clive Palmer.

The URP has six members of parliament including Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma, Environment and Conservation Minister Benny Allen and Tourism Minister Guma Wau.

Mr Palmer, who owns half the PNG-focused oil and gas company Chinampa Exploration, reportedly told the function PNG was entering "a new era".

"This is the promised land and with a stable government and support from the community, this country can take off," the Post-Courier newspaper quoted him as saying.

"You have gas, oil and other resources.

"There is a lot of opportunity here and the government must create the right environment."

Senator Brown, who visited PNG two weeks ago, told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday the growing influence of Australian mining companies was troubling.

"It is very, very troubling ... in a marvellous country like PNG where democracy ought to be based on a fair go for everybody," Senator Brown said.

"I'm very concerned about that and ... will be continuing to raise this issue in parliament."

Mr Palmer has show a keen interest in PNG in recent years, throwing his weight behind a bid to introduce a PNG team in the National Rugby League competition.

He is the single biggest contributor to the Liberal National Party in Queensland and in 2009/10 donated $500,000 to the federal Liberals, according to the electoral commission website.

A spokesman for Mr Palmer told AAP he was unavailable for comment as he was in Hong Kong launching the float of Resourcehouse.

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