The National, Monday November 11th, 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
A TRIBE in Western claims it is owed K800 million by the Government and is urging Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, pictured, to pay up.
The Kimka Sepiyan sub-tribe members are landowners of the giant Ok Tedi gold and copper mine pit in the province.
They said through lawyer Philip Wariniki that the K800 million was for outstanding royalty and other benefits.
No comment could be obtained from O’Neill yesterday.
Spokesman Clement John said they were forced to go public about their claim because of the lack of response from the PM’s office despite the many letters sent there.
John said a court order dated Sept 20 directed that all payments due and owing to Kimka be processed and paid by the appropriate state agencies and Ok Tedi Mining Ltd within 30 days from the date of the order.
He said the landowners were still waiting.
John said the non-payment of royalties and benefits were caused by:
- No proper landowner identification studies by BHP Billiton in the 1980s;
- the State’s rushed acceptance of other people as landowners of the Ok Tedi Mining pit, while the real landowners were around but not consulted; and,
- The non-communication by BHP Billiton and State as to the royalties and benefits due and owing to the real landowners.
“Ok Tedi Mining Ltd has denied the rights of the real landowners to their true benefits,” John said.
“Ok Tedi Mining Ltd is only a developer but in the past, has interfered with landowner issues. Ok Tedi should not be interfering with landownership issues.”
Chairman David Allolim said last Thursday they were the real landowners of the mine pit at Mt Fubilan, unlike the Community Mine Continuation Agreement villages.