The Nationl, Monday 3rd September, 2012
By MALUM NALU in Tabubil
PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP), the majority shareholder of the giant Ok Tedi mine, has signed a historic agreement with the Fly River provincial government to ensure that more business opportunities flow down to the people of Western.
The company currently owns 63.4% of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML), while the balance of 36.6% is owned by the PNG government.
The agreement was signed after a day-long meeting at the Tabubil Golf Club on Saturday in which representatives from PNGSDP, OTML, and Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) made comprehensive presentations to a delegation led by Governor Ati Wobiro, and deputy provincial administrator Willie Kokoba.
Wobiro signed the agreement on behalf of his people while board chairman Prof Ross Garnaut signed on behalf of PNGSDP.
It was hailed as the beginning of a new era for the province, especially given that Wobiro is a former employee of PNGSDP, who is familiar with all its workings.
“I’m sure that with the partnership we have already signed, we can bring our resources together,” Wobiro said in his first major engagement as Western province governor.
“This is an exciting time for all of us.
“Our people expect us to do thingsand let’s do the right thing.”
Garnaut said Western had access to a lot of funds from different sources and the way forward was to plan how to use them.
“In everything that we (PNGSDP) do, we hope we can work with the provincial government,” he said.
“We are natural partners in developing this province.
“There are a lot of partners that belong to the province in Department of Finance SSG (special support grants), MRDC (Mineral Resources Development Company).
“What we need to do is we need to have a plan to put the funds from PNGSDP, Ok Tedi, OTDF alongside your funds and build the important business projects that can really make a big difference in taking this province forward.
‘“We have a partner who can work with us to make use of this golden opportunity.
“It will be our great opportunity in turning this opportunity into achievement.”