MAC: Mines and Communities

Ok Tedi: Governor backs compensation claim

Published by MAC on 2007-01-25

Ok Tedi: Governor backs compensation claim

by Postcourier, Papua New Guinea

25th January 2007

WESTERN Province Governor Bob Danaya has demanded the Fly River system be compensated immediately as the environmental damages done to it are

Dr Danaya's demand follows media reports that PNG lawyer, Camillus Narokobi had launched an "audacious" $US4billion (K12.5 billoin) civil damages claim against BHP and the mines present operators on behalf of the Ningerum people living downstream on the Fly River.

Dr Danaya said the people of Ningerum had never been a part of the compensation package that other affected areas received.

"Their efforts to include them in the affected area package on numerous occasions has fallen on deaf ears and deliberate refusal of BHP and OK Tedi
to include them in the package," Mr Danaya said. Dr Danaya said BHP had never left the OK Tedi mine but was hiding behind a fake curtain of the PNG
Sustainable Development Program Company (PNGSDP), which had done nothing sustainable in the Western Province.

"I am now urging the National government who opted for the OK Tedi mine to continue in the eighth and ninth supplemental agreements and reviews that took place thereafter but ignored the environmental aspects, to make an urgent executive decision to rectify this outstanding environmental and pollution issues," Mr Danaya said.

The PNGSDP could not be reached for comments.

In a compromise deal, BHP in 2002 donated its 52 per cent stake into a trust that would invest the mine's profits back into the region.

BHP said that it would defend any claim against it.

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