OTML: Weather may force suspension of operations

Business, Normal

The National, Friday August 7th, 2015

 OK Tedi Mining Ltd says operations may be suspended in next week or so.

In a statement released yesterday, the company said this would leave a skeleton crew covering care, maintenance and security and work on priority projects.

“OTML operations continue on a day to day basis while river levels permit shipments of concentrate out, resupply of fuel in, and while hydro power continues to operate at reasonable levels,” it said. 

“Based on the prevailing weather pattern, operations may have to be suspended in the next week or so. 

“Rainfall in critical catchment areas over the past month has been well below historic average levels and the river is again approaching the non-trafficable level. Hydro power generation is dropping steadily. 

“Plans to relieve pressure on critical supplies are well advanced. 

“Non-essential personnel and families are being progressively repatriated in order to extend supplies of food and fuel and level demand for flights once it becomes necessary to suspend operations.”

OTML said while operations were suspended, and in order to retain the workforce and allow for an efficient restart of operations, OTML personnel would be paid a retainer, representing a significant forward commitment of cash reserves should the suspension last for an extended period.

According to the statement, Government schools in Tabubil remained open for children from local mine villages to continue their education in Tabubil and to allow students in Grades 10 and 12 prepare for and complete their year-end exams. 

Students from OTML families who have been relocated from Tabubil are being assisted with enrolments elsewhere.