THE Fly River provincial government’s inability to maintain the Kiunga airport has once again resulted in Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) being requested to do maintenance on the facility.
As a result, the airport had been closed to Dash 8 flights since September to allow maintenance to take place.
OTML roads and civil engineering team coordinator Kwapena Raka said the maintenance work was expected to cost about K1.2 million.
He said OTML would recover the cost from the provincial government after the maintenance work on the runway was completed.
“OTML is very concerned about the safety of the aircraft and people using the airport that is why we have diverted resources to immediately repair the runway so that airline companies can resume flights to Kiunga,” Mr Raka said.
“The runway has deteriorated to a state where potholes have developed, thus putting passengers and aircraft at serious risk,” He said.
He said the airport’s drainage system would also be given a major overhaul.
Maintenance work on the runway was expected to be completed within this month.
Earlier this year, OTML did maintenance work on the airstrip’s runway at a total cost of nearly K50,000 after the Fly provincial administration requested help from them.
OTML general manager for community and business support, David Masani said OTML had raised concerns for the provincial government not to continue depending on OTML but to put in place its own mechanism of maintenance support for all government services in Kiunga, such as water, power and sanitation before the mine closes.
“To be very blunt right now, Ok Tedi is doing the work of the Fly River provincial government,” Mr Masani said.