MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Miner pays K1.01b

Published by MAC on 2007-07-02

Miner pays K1.01b

PNG Postcourier

2nd July 2007

A massive "blessing" of K1.01 billion was paid to villagers affected by the OK Tedi Mining Limited's operations last Friday, but the company's top brass has expressed sentiments as to how best the villagers will utilise this money.

The money was paid to six regional areas for environmental damages done to the river systems by the mining company after a Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) review was conducted.

CMCA independent observer John Kawi said more than 500 meetings were held with villages under the review process, which meant that transparency was involved in the reviewing process.

Mr Kawi expressed concerns that it was only right that the villagers put this money to good use.

"I hope this K1.01 billion may not be something you will be satisfied with but live with it," Mr Kawi said.

However, the villagers, considering the fact that the mine will be shutting down in 2013, have opted to set up an entity called the OK Tedi Fly River Development Foundation that will enable the villagers it sustain their livelihoods after the copper mine closes.

Also under the CMCA agreement, Mr Kawi said women will be receiving 10 per cent of the K1.01 billion, something he described as milestone for any mining company for have done that.

"It was the participation and consultation that enabled this (CMCA) process to be conducted and finished," Mr Kawi said.
"Transparency was involved and I can truly say that it is prime time that this process be done considering the fact that the mine is going to close in six years time."

OK Tedi Mining Limited departing managing director Keith Faulkner added that the CMCA process was conducted in the "most transparent manner".

"We've been transparent and honest in the things we do," Mr Faulkner said.

"But I would tell the villagers that a billion kina is a lot of money and it should be put to good use. This is a blessing and this blessing outweighs the problem."

The CMCA review was signed by OTML, the villagers, PNG Sustainable Development Project and CMCA facilitators, Tanorama (PNG).

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