The National, Thursday October 24th, 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE Ok Tedi mine landowners have agreed to allow the State to run and control the operation of the Ok Tedi mine.
They met with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Port Moresby yesterday. Deputy Governor of Western Borok Pitalok said they were satisfied with the outcome of the meeting with O’Neill.
Representing the landowners were Bill Menimm, the chairman of Mineral Resource Star Mountain plus directors John Atmeyok, Toby Nongkim and Pitalok.
Pitalok said O’Neill assured the people of Western that under the new board and the arrangement, they would benefit more.
The benefits will however be shared equally with the rest of the country.
They agreed that the biggest share of the budget would go to the people of Western as there was so much to be done to improve the living conditions of the people.
He said they agreed to increase MRSM’s shareholding in Ok Tedi Mining Limited by the Government, after it took over the PNG Sustainable Development Program.
Another important issue is the building of a tailings dam for the safe dumping of the mine’s waste so that Fly River is not used as a waste dump like it was under the previous ownership.
O’Neill said the representatives of the 10 villages situated around the Ok Tedi Mining Lease area, Mineral Resources Star Mountains, had accepted the key offers, putting to rest the much-debated issues on the takeover of the mine.
He said the people of Western owned 63.4% of the mine while the remainder was owned by the people of PNG through the State.
“It means that the mine is wholly owned by the people of PNG.
“On behalf of the government, I am offering to increase shareholding of the Ok Tedi mine and establish a proper tailings dam to control environmental pollution, particularly to the rivers and subsequently to avoid further harm to nature,” O’Neill said.