Papua New Guinea’s Western Province Governor, Dr Bob Danaya, is furious and has expressed concern that there was no consultation by the National Government with his government for the troubled Ok Tedi mine to resume operations.
Dr Danaya said this following the visit by the Minister for Mining, John Pundari, and Minister of Environment and Conservation, Benny Allen, to Tabubil to see firsthand the pyrite spillage site along the pipeline to Bige dredge site.
He asked why Western Province leaders were not included as part of the delegation to accompany the two ministers. He claimed that North Fly MP Boka Kondra was only allowed to join the ministers after he argued at the airport and eventually got on the charter.
Dr Danaya expressed disgust at the National Government for allowing mine operations to resume without any consultation with the Fly River Provincial Government. “Is it all about money making at the expense of environmental damage? Where is justice and when will justice be done to the people of Western Province? The Government continues to use a flawed piece of legislation using the indemnity clause in the Restated Ninth Supplemental Agreement to continue to operate the mine,” Dr Danaya said.
He said the indemnity clause states clearly that no legal action must be against OK Tedi mine for any environmental damage caused by the mine operations is inhuman and suppresses the rights of the people affected by the mine. He demanded to know whether the leaking pipes have been replaced to improve what he claimed a “bad piece of engineering” in pipeline structure because there is no guarantee that the existing and new pipes would leak or not.
“No amount of compensation will rectify the current environmental catastrophe. “Ok Tedi with the Mining Department have always used divide and rule tactics to cause conflict among the people,” the governor said. The Governor demanded an explanation from the two ministers when he returns from the province next week.