The National, Wednesday March 2nd, 2016
THE giant OK Tedi mine in Western resumed operations yesterday after a seven-month stoppage.
The state owned Ok Tedi Mining Ltd suspended operations on August 22 last year due to the draught conditions which made ships carrying critical supplies impassable up Fly River coupled with the depressed copper price.
OTML managing director and chief executive officer Peter Graham said said the company was pleased to welcome employees back to site for the progressive restart.
“We are very pleased to be welcoming our employees back to site as operations progressively restart,” Graham said.
“We currently have about 800 employees on site and numbers will ramp up to full complement by mid – March.”
He said this figure would increase to 1300 employees after the ramp up.
“Our immediate focus is to make sure we operate safely. Returning employees attend a general site induction on arrival followed by a comprehensive workplace-specific induction on the day they return to their work place.
Specific work competencies are also being validated,” he said. Graham said recommencement of operations followed statutory safety approval from Mineral Resources Authority.
MRA managing director Philip Samar said they were pleased at the outcome of the statutory inspections at Ok Tedi and confirmed that MRA had provided necessary approvals as sought by OTML for the mine to resume commercial production.
“We commend OTML for ensuring that its safety management systems are in place to meet the MRAs safety inspections rigorous requirements,” Samar said.
“As the operator of the mine, OTML is now directly responsible for ensuring the continued maintenance of the mines safety management system going forward.”
Inspectors from MRA were in Tabubil from February 22-26 visiting the Mine, Mill, Bige, and Kiunga Port sites confirming safety requirements in preparation for restart.
Meanwhile, Graham said full production was expected toward end this month after installation and commissioning of replacement the part of a mill known as SAG2 shell.