Villagers use mining funds to build churches


TWO villages in Western have used their funds from the Ok Tedi Mining Limited to build churches.
Kasa and Kaviananga villagers in Middle Fly last Saturday invited the company’s board of directors to open the churches.
OTML chairman Sir Moi Ave praised the villagers for using their compensation money wisely.
“The church is not here because of compensation money. It is here because of good leadership and support by the community,” Sir Moi told the people of Kaviananga.
Sir Moi also challenged the villagers to invest in the health and education of their children.
“We will give you the opportunity but you must invest in schools, in your health centres and you have to put money aside for the next generation,” Sir Moi said.
Managing director and chief executive Peter Graham thanked the villagers for their warm welcome.
“It’s an exciting time and an opportunity for us to meet some of our shareholders in Ok Tedi, and that includes all of you,” Graham said.
“We are responsible to our shareholders for what happens at Ok Tedi and to support the communities within the footprint of our operations, to talk with leaders and understand their issues and to work with community leaders to jointly address the issues.
“We have to work in partnership and understand each other’s priorities. I look forward to strengthening the partnerships that we have.”
OTML’s new directors, former mining minister Byron Chan and Western administrator Robert Kaiyun, were part of the group that visited the two villages.

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