MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Ok Tedi: Landowners want shares

Published by MAC on 2006-07-20


Ok Tedi: Landowners want shares

20th July 2006

Postcourier, PNG

MINE impacted communities in the Western Province want shareholders in Ok Tedi Mining Limited to offload shares as compensation for the environmental damage. They said in Port Moresby yesterday the former operator of the giant mine copper and gold mine BHP offloaded its interests to PNG Sustainable Development Pro-gram Limited and the PNG Government for the massive damage the company made to the riverine in Ok Tedi and Fly rivers. `

Led by Alex Maun of Lower Ok Tedi, the impacted communities' leaders called on Inmet Mining of Canada to hand over all its shares which represent 18 per cent of total interest in OTML. They also called on the Government to offload 5 per cent of its 15 per cent shareholding while the PNG Sustainable Development Pro-gram Limited has been asked to offload one-third of the two-thirds of total spending in other provinces of Papua New Guinea.

Mr Maun said of the total allocated amount of K87 million budgeted to be spent in the Western Province by PNG Sustainable Program Limited, only K4.3 million was spent while the balance was still not accounted for. He also said overhead costs at PNGSDPL totalled K11 million for last year alone. "PNGSDPL was born out of our sufferings and environmental impacts," Mr Maun said. "They seem to have great plans but very little to show since its creation and 52 per cent shareholding in OTML."

He said what the landowners wanted was a fair payment for the damage done to their environment. Mr Maun and the other leaders also said Ok Tedi Mining Limited never paid any compensation for the environmental damage done to the riverine systems but it only paid some money as settlement for the damage it did. The leaders presented a proposal to the Mining Minister Sam Akoitai and PNGSDPL management and they expect responses by September.

"It is outrageous when our people are suffering fromlack of basic services along the Ok Tedi and Fly River systems while billions of kina of copper and gold exports are shipped along our very own river system," Mr Maun said.

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