Don’t shut mine, locals told

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday October 22nd, 2013


POLICE have warned people from the Community Mining Continuation Agreement and mine villages to reconsider a threat to shut down the Ok Tedi mine in Western.

Western police commander Insp Silva Sika condemned the threats made by the organisation last week because it could lead to situations that might get out of hand.

Sika said the group should instead hold discussions with relevant authorities to sort out their problems.

People from the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) and mine villages last Thursday gave the Government 48 hours to respond to their petition or they will shut down the Ok Tedi mine tomorrow.

Representatives of the 162 CMCA and mine villages are demanding that the Government gives back the 63.4% shareholding in Ok Tedi Mining Ltd was taken away from the PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd last month.

Sika said it was wrong to mislead the people because some of them did not fully understand the issues.

“I ask the group to stop conducting meetings or awareness in the province,” he said.

“They will be arrested if they do not take heed of instructions.

“The threats, including blocking off the highway access and other operations of OTML, are very serious as they are going against a government decision. 

“They should seek proper dialogue with the right people to air their views.”

Sika said the people from the CMCA must consider the safety and welfare of the people first. 

“Who is going to benefit from the actions that they are adamant to carry out?” he said.

“Reinforcing the threats will lead to serious repercussions such as law and order problems. And that is not a good thing for the people and province.

“I appeal to them to stop immediately and look at proper ways to air their frustrations in a more professional manner.”