Mine leaders protest order

Main Stories, National

The National, Thursday January 30th, 2014

 LEADERS of the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) communities and mine villages in Ok Tedi are protesting against the National Court orders issued last Friday.

And they have congregated in the mining township of Tabubil, Western, to prevent lawyers Samson Jubi and Allan Bainyamai from presenting the court orders to Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML). 

Among the orders issued by Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika is one that requires the Government to deposit K45 million into the trust account of the lawyers who represented the seven plaintiffs from the South Fly area.

The funds are to pay for an extensive research into the extent of environmental pollution in the Fly River and its social, health and economic impact on the people. Some of the funds will be used to offset fees for the lawyers.

The court ordered OTML to refrain from dumping mine waste and tailings into the Ok Tedi and Fly River systems pending the hearing of the substantive matter on Feb 12. 

The Government is also required to provide details and records of how it spent the dividends it received from OTML from 2001 to 2013.

The 36 CMCA leaders, who represent 157 villages and 120,000 people, gathered at the Tabubil airport on Tuesday to await the arrival of a chartered aircraft supposedly bringing the lawyers to serve the court orders on OTML.

They said in a statement yesterday they were infuriated for not being consulted or informed of the court application by principal plaintiff Pastor Steven Bagari and six others.

“That’s our money, not their money,” Raymond Pivini of Middle Fly said.

“If they didn’t consult us then they’re not going to come here.” 

Middle Fly leader Richard Zumoi added: “That decision of the court has caused lot of pain. There’s enough suffering already, there’s enough pain that is faced by the people. 

“We are supposed to be looking at good things happening and we are supposed to be discussing the benefits, we are supposed to be discussing the bigger issues of getting into ownership.

“We are calling on the people of Papua New Guinea,  our impacted people, the rest of Western province, our leaders, elected leaders and the Prime Minister to take a special interest to get this stopped.”

Spokesman for the Mine villages Joel Dankim said: “If it means that we will stay here a week waiting for them lawyers bringing the court order, this is our place and we will do anything to block this person from coming here. 

“This is our interest and our people’s interest.

Alice Kwause, a women’s representative from Kiwaba village, said:  “Most of the women and children affected are in our area. 

“This (lawyer) Samson Jubi, he has not done anything there, not even a good thing. 

“We are not here to welcome them. 

“We are here to turn them back.”