Help for villages affected by mine

Normal, Papua

The National, Monday 08th April, 2013


COMMUNITIES in Western impacted by the Ok Tedi mine have been advised to look at new benefits they will get from a new lease agreement.

And Tourism, Art and Culture Minister Boka Kondra has committed K50,000 towards a community awareness drive in the province on Ok Tedi mine issues. 

The awareness to start this week is aimed at informing people of the stand taken by the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the government on the mine life extension and management of the mine.

It includes the PNG Sustainable Development Programme and how the Ok Tedi Mine Impacted Area Association can prepare the people for the new agreement. 

Association president Nick Bunn said: “The government must be commended for standing up for its people against a corporate giant like Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) to allow the local communities to plan and implement their own development goals and objectives instead of being bystanders and spectators.”

Bunn said the people of Western supported O’Neill and Parliament for making their stand on the mine issue. 

O’Neill said the Ok Tedi mining lease should expire at the end of this year and a new management arrangement will be put in place. 

It will include the restructuring of the sustainable development programme.

In light of this, Bunn has called on Western Governor Ati Wobiro, local MPs, the Fly River government and local level governments to work together and prepare the people for this new arrangement. 

He warned the people of Western that they had only nine months to look at the new benefits that would come in this new arrangement.

Bunn said the mine impacted communities had endorsed the association to raise their concerns, issues and to represent them in the mine’s future management.

“The people want this arrangement to be independent from OTML and OTDF involvement because they do not represent the CMCA people,” Bunn said.