The National Government has fulfilled its commitment gifting the people of Western Province shares in Ok Tedi Mine
Sounds great, but will the people actually see any improvement in their lives?
Charles Yapumi | LOOP PNG | January 23, 2017
The historic benefit sharing agreement (BSA) signing happened in Alotau on the weekend between the six mine area villages and the 152 villages from the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) regions will share the 33 per cent direct equity interest in OTML.
The National Executive Council’s (NEC) decision relating to the granting of the free equity was made in 2014.
The benefit sharing Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) took over two years of negotiation amongst landowners, the Fly River Provincial Government and the State.
The breakup of the shares will see CMCA group owning 12 per cent, the Mine Area Villages 9 per cent while the Fly River Provincial Government (FRPG) will own 12 per cent.
“Now you’ve got one third direct participation. It is for the first time in the history of this country and it’s a big decision the Government has made for landowners to have direct participation in OTML,” Chief Secretary to the Government, Isaac Lupari said.
According to the MoA signed, 40 per cent of the benefits from the respective shares will be paid in cash to landowners while the other 40 per cent will go towards investment purposes and 20 per cent will go towards infrastructure development programs and projects.
MRDC’s Managing Director Augustine Mano said it was not an easy part but to manage the interests is a huge responsibility on MRDC.
“Thank you for the confidence given to us to manage your interest. We will do our best. We will not let you down,” Mano said.
The Fly River Provincial Government is yet to sign the MoA and will do so at a later date. Once all parties have signed, the agreements will be submitted to NEC for approval for the transfer of the shares in OTML.