PNGSDP offers State mine deal

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday February 11th, 2014

 THE PNG Sustainable Development Program has proposed a “fair, constructive and amicable” solution to the Government to resolve the dispute over the ownership of the Ok Tedi Mining Limited and itself.

In a statement yesterday, PNGSDP chairman Sir Mekere Morauta said a “compromise solution” was offered last week to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s Eminent Persons’ Group on a “without prejudice basis”.

Sir Mereke said the proposal offered a solution to the dispute over the State’s expropriation of Ok Tedi, without compensation and its attempts to take control of the PNGSDP.

“Following extensive discussions with the EPG, PNGSDP presented a compromise deed of settlement it believes is satisfactory to the company, the Government and the people of Western province,” Sir Mekere said.

“It is aimed in particular at protecting the long term fund, as well as ensuring the people of Western a guaranteed level of social and economic development now and in the future after the mine closes.

“I sincerely hope that PNGSDP’s compromise will meet with the approval of the prime minister. The people of Western have suffered enough.”

No comments could be obtained from O’Neill last night.

Sir Mereke said the compromise solution included:

  • A modest compensation to PNGSDP for the expropriation of the shares;
  • a legislation to repeal parts of the Government’s Tenth Supplemental Agreement Act passed last year;
  • guarantees of protection to PNGSDP, its board and management;
  • an amended definition of mine closure so PNGSDP can immediately resume development funding for Western province, once the Government secures agreement with BHP Billiton;
  • that PNGSDP drops its legal actions against the State, once the State executed the deed, and,
  • Generous payment terms allowing the State to pay compensation over an extended period.

Sir Mekere said the company’s approach to talks with the State had been consistent since March last year when O’Neill wrote to it informing it of his intentions.

“PNGSDP has always been willing to talk to the Government on this basis, and has done so in good faith and in a constructive and honest way,” he said.