Tag Archives: Ok Tedi

Govt, BHP blamed for damage to Fly River

The Fly River is a “dead river” according to the World Bank

The National aka The Loggers Times | January 31, 2019

THE Government and BHP should be equally responsible for the damage to the Fly River as the result of the Ok Tedi mine, a former mining minister says.

Former mining minister and South Bougainville MP Sam Akotai thanked Minister for Environment and Conservation John Pundari for tabling a bill in respect to environment population.

He said the Act would put Ok Tedi on par with all the environment protection laws and practices with other mines operating in the country.

Akotai said the Act would also give confidence to other mines that the Government was not biased with its operations and conducts in respect to the environmental issues in Ok Tedi.

Akotai said he had experience in the industry for well over 18 years and was qualified to make such statements while Ok Tedi mine brought a lot of revenue for the country.

He said the developer, BHP Ltd, owned the mine but it was in partnership with the government and while there was a lot of talks on the damage in Western, both BHP and the national government needed to be squarely responsible for the damage.

He said damage done to the Fly River and its inhabitants was irreplaceable, with the river being described as a “dead river”.

“It is one of the biggest damages ever, and many times we are happy to receive revenues but we have a population who are faced with the situation where the river is already dead,” he said.

“A World Bank report says Fly River is a dead river. After the mine closes, the people of Western living along the Fly River will face the problem for more than 200 years.

“However, the good news was that the new Act would at least control the operation of the mine and the deposit of the waste of the mine.”

Akotai said waste from the Porgera gold mine in Enga was also washed down to the Strickland River which eventually connects the Fly River that added more to the level of damage.

“That is why I’m sorry for our citizens living along the Fly River in Western,” he said.

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Thirty-four years of mining but Western still behind others in development: Yoto

A mother and her malnourished child, Bimadbn Village, Morehead, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: Penny Johnson

Thirty-four years of mining at the giant Ok Tedi mine but the people of Western Province are still waiting to see the promised benefits

The National aka The Loggers Times | January 28, 2019

Western Governor Taboi Awi Yoto says his province still lags behind other provinces in terms of development, despite 34 years of Ok Tedi mining operations.

Yoto said this when he presented its K308 million 2019 appropriation budget to Treasurer Charles Abel in Port Moresby on Thursday.

“There are no major road networks to connect rural areas to urban areas,” he said.

“My people are still walking long distances, paddling along rivers and swamps to reach the nearest service centres to get medical treatment, attend schools or sell their products at the local market.”

Yoto said the Western Province Development Strategy (2018-22) focused on healthy and educated people with food on the table and income in their pockets.

The Western appropriation budget of K308,050,800 expects K210,831,100 million from National Government grant allocation.

Yoto said the provincial government, through its internal revenue collection, was expected to collect about K97,219,700.

Provincial headquarters will get K171,049,100, South Fly K41,993,900, Middle Fly K49,435, 900, and North Fly K45,571,900.

“The criteria for budget allocation was based on current development and service delivery issues and challenges that confront the lives of over 211,000 people living in rural areas and urban centres across Western,” Yoto said.

Enabling infrastructure got the biggest slice of the budget with K50,764,100 (31 per cent) allocated.

This was followed by education with K36,691,400 (22 per cent)

The health sector was allocated K29,607,000 (18 per cent) while governance sector was allocated K23,372,200 million (14 per cent).

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Save the Sepik from mining: learning from the past

Visiting the Sepik River and its people. Photo supplied.

Ken Golding | Echo Net | 21 September 2018

The people of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea understand the threat to their lives and culture from the Chinese-owned copper and gold mine that is currently being proposed to be built on the Frieda River, a tributary of the headwaters of the Sepik River.

My partner Raine Sharpe, myself and Keith O’Neill have just returned from the remote Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. We were part of the Northern Rivers Folk Choir that responded to invitations from the people of The Sepik to live with them, share their culture and help alert the world to the threat to their lives from the copper and gold mine being proposed.

Rich culture

We were welcomed into their homes, their daily life and their rich and colourful culture. Sepik people are warm, generous, and intelligent with a great sense of humour. They are renowned for the quality of their artistic cultural expression and live an ecologically aware life described by PNG ABC journalist Sean Dorney as ‘affluent subsistence’.

The Sepik River is 1,200 kilometres long and is the largest uncontaminated freshwater system in the Asia Pacific region. Rising in the Central Highlands it winds its serpentine way through mountains, rainforest and wetlands to the ocean. People have lived on the Sepik for many thousands of years.

Poisoned river

The second-largest river in PNG is the Fly River. In the 1970s Australian mining companies built Ok Tedi, a huge copper and gold mine on the river’s headwaters. This mine became the scene of what is now recognised as the biggest ecological disaster in the world.

Discharging 80 million tonnes of contaminated tailings and mining erosion into the river system each year has caused 1,300 square kilometres of the river to be irrevocably damaged. People of the Fly River now suffer serious health problems with their main sources of food and water subjected to heavy-metal poisoning.

No social licence

I’m drawing the comparison between these two magnificent river systems because the mine proposed by the Chinese-owned Australian mining company PanAust that is preparing to build a gold and copper mine on the Sepik river system is as big, if not bigger than, Ok Tedi mine.

The people of the Sepik fear for their future and their way of life. They know about the damage to the Fly River and its people and are deeply fearful that the Freida mine is another Ok Tedi in the making. So far there has been minimal community consultation and the Sepik people consider the mine does not have a social licence to go ahead.

We have a deep sense of shame that an Australian company recklessly inflicted damage on the Fly River and its people.

The Sepik River is the lifeblood of its people. The children of the village we stayed with are healthy and vibrant. Their delight and laughter melted our hearts.

Professor Tim Flannery says he cannot think of a worse place for a copper mine. Surely we cannot allow an ecological disaster to happen again.

Raise awareness

To raise awareness and funds in support of the people of the Sepik we are holding an evening event Tales of the Sepik River in Mullumbimby on Saturday September 29 at 6.30pm.

If you want to know more about this event email raines@australis.net.

If you want to know more about the people of the Sepik, and the Frieda mine, go to Save the Sepik River and its people on Facebook.

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Ok Tedi Pays Out K100 Million In Dividend

Post Courier | July 24, 2018

The Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) board paid out K100 million as dividend to its shareholders last week Friday.

In announcing the payout, OTML board chairman Sir Moi Avei also cautioned shareholders not to have high expectations heading into the second half of 2018.

He said the company had showed its resilience to bounce back from the effects of February’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake which affected the province and the mine, including four other provinces in the southern and highlands regions of the country.

“While the performance of the business was adversely affected following the earthquake in February, production and profitability have progressively returned to more normal levels,” Sir Moi said.

“Allowing the company to make a K50 million contribution to the earthquake appeal in March 2018 and now fund an interim dividend (of K100 million).”

He thanked employees and contractors for their efforts in recovering from the effects of the earthquake while pointing out that the second half outlook, while positive, required care on the part of the recent fall in copper prices and major infrastructure development.

“While the outlook for the second half of 2018 remains positive, the recent decline in copper price and the ongoing cash requirement to complete the replacement and relocation of the in-pit crusher meant that the board continued to exercise prudence,” Sir Moi said.

Following the transfer of additional equity from the State to Western Province entities in April 2018, K67 million of the dividend was paid to the State, with the balance of K33 million paid to the Fly River Provincial Government, CMCA and Mine communities.

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No more mine waste dumping in rivers

The Ok Tedi mine has destroyed the Fly River system (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

PNG urged to use history to deal with mine waste

The National aka The Loggers Times | 18 July 2018

PAPUA New Guinea has lessons to learn from Fly River in Western when working on the Mine Waste Management Policy framework, according to Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazard Management.

Asavi Kendua from the department says the mine waste management plan should indicate mine waste avoidance, reduction and mitigation strategies.

In his presentation during a seminar on capacity development in mine waste management in PNG, Kendua said treatment of mine waste, including mine waste water, had to be done in accordance with the Environment Act 2000.

He said it also had to abide by any codes of practice developed by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority.

Proper monitoring systems should take into account health and safety aspects of the environment and surrounding communities.

“Riverine tailings disposal shall not be an option for mine waste disposal for new mining leases that will be granted from the date of the enactment of Revised Mining Act,” Kendua said.

He said mine inspectors should ensure proper inspections were done on mine waste treatment facilities before the expiry of mining leases.

“Where a mining lease or lease for mining purposes is granted, it shall be granted on the condition that the tenement holder complies with mine waste management plan,” Kendua said.

“The holder of a mining lease for mining purposes shall periodically update its mine waste management plan.

“The holder shall ensure that the integrity and safety of mine waste storage, treatment and dischange facilities are constantly maintained with adequate emergency response mechanisms in place.”

The mine waste management plan takes into account closure aspects of a mining project with respect to operational and post-closure monitoring, rehabilitation of disturbed and contaminated sites, stabilisation of waste rock dumps, stockpiles and acid rock drainage mitigation.

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Ok Tedi funds not safe: MRDC a milking cow for people in Waigani

O’Neill clears air on K200m mine fund

The National aka The Loggers Times | 18 July 2018

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill told Parliament yesterday that well over K200 million from OK Tedi Mine is currently accumulating in the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) and non-CMCA trust accounts for the people of Western.

He said this in response to questions from Middle Fly MP James Donald on why Government had made a decision to transfer money in the CMCA and the non-CMCA trust accounts to Mineral Resource Development Company (MRDC).
Donald said he was very concerned because MRDC was a “milking cow” for people in Waigani.

“I asked the prime minister earlier on and he had given me and the people of Western province assurance that the funds were in safe hands,” he said.

“An NEC decision in June 2017 has stated that after the audits of the CMCA and the non-CMCA trust accounts, the balance of the funds, will be transferred to MRDC.

“I am very concerned that the prime minister has lied to me and the people of Western.

“MRDC is a milking cow for Waigani people and the funds are now in the wrong hands.”

O’Neill said what the Government tried to do was to correct gross mismanagement and misuse of funds in the CMCA and non-CMCA trust accounts over the past years.

He said hundreds of millions of kina belonging to Western people under CMCA and non-CMCA trust accounts had been mismanaged over the years.

“Those funds have never reached the people,” O’Neill said.

“That’s why we are trying to correct and stop this nonsense going on.

“The government has put a ban on the CMCA and non-CMCA trust accounts and conducted an audit.”

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Ok Tedi mine to give 33pc of ownership to communities

The National aka The Loggers Times | May 30, 2018

Fly River (Western) government and communities impacted by Ok Tedi mine will at the end of this year have 33 per cent ownership of the project.

This is according to Ok Tedi Mine Ltd (OTML) chairman Sir Moi Avei in the company’s report for the last financial year.

“As reported last year, the State, the Fly River government and the CMCAs (community mine continuation agreement areas), reached agreement, whereby the provincial government and special purpose community entities will collectively hold a 33 per cent equity interest in Ok Tedi with the State retaining the balance,” he said.

“This change, expected to be completed in 2018, will serve to further strengthen the relationship between Ok Tedi and our host communities.

“OTML will remain.”

The company last year recorded a net profit of K848 million (US$266 million) and generated K84 million (US$ 246 million) of free cash-flow.

This in turn allowed it to distribute K380 million (US$119 million) of dividends in 2017.

Sir Moi said the result was achieved through combined efforts of its employees and contractor partners. “We have been able to meet internal production targets in 2017,” he said.

“Our operations delivered the highest mine production, ore processed and metal production for the last five years.

“The company also played an important role in generating foreign currency with US$ 1billion (K3.25 billion) of sales revenue generated during the year.

“I wish to thank management and the workforce of Ok Tedi for their continued commitment and valued contribution.”
Sir Moi said the company also continued to make significant contributions to services and infrastructure development in areas affected by the mine through its community development programmes.

“The OTDF (Ok Tedi Development Foundation), a subsidiary of OTML, serves as the vehicle for delivering projects and services funded by contributions made by OTML directly and through the CMCA Trusts and the tax credit scheme,” he said.

“OTDF serves this purpose with the eventual goal of broadening its shareholder base and expanding its role to be a significant contributor to long-term development in Western.”

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