By SHEILA LASIBORI
WESTERN province miner Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) says good planning for mine life extension (MLE) is the key to getting consent for further operations beyond 2013.
But if OTML fails to get consent for such extended run, then the operations would focus on the orderly closure of the current mine in 2013, according to Musje Werror, OTML general manager for business support and corporate relations.
“A delay in consent does pose a risk to the project, but our aim is to avoid this situation through good planning,” he said when responding to questions on the update of OTML’s proposed extension.
However, Western province Governor Dr Bob Danaya does not want any extension for OTML and that it should “pack up and leave instead”.
He claimed the giant mine had done a lot of damage to the nearby communities and the river system, so OTML should cease operations by 2013.
But OTML maintained it had over the years provided over K14 billion in benefits.
“Our workforce and host province can be proud of our contribution to national building,” Mr Werror said, adding the national and western provincial governments would be kept abreast on the progress of studies and will be consulted.
Mr Werror said plans and processes could not be put in place until the feasibility study was complete.
The study is being conducted by OTML and is expected to be completed by December this year.
“The mine life extension consultation process will run parallel with the feasibility study and as more information becomes available, this will be shared with the impacted communities and government.
“OTML expects major portion of the feasibility study associated with west wall stripping to be completed by late 2010,” Mr Werror said.
He said consent would be sought for MLE.
He also said during the consultation process OTML would provide information on the benefits and impacts associated with MLE to the community and Government so the stakeholders could make an informed decision on whether they support MLE or not.
“The study will be delivered in sufficient time to allow waste mining to start”.