Tag Archives: Western Province

Ok Tedi Mine Landowners Get Share Certificates

Post Courier | April 17, 2018

The people of Western Province finally own 33 percent of the giant Ok Tedi Copper Mine following the handover of equity share certificates by Ok Tedi Mining Limited Board Chairman Sir Moi Avei to Governor Taboi Awi Yoto yesterday in Kiunga.

“OTML is now a third owned by the people of Western Province,” Sir Moi told a large gathering of locals and invited guests in front of the grand Cassowary hotel.

“We have heard so much about this 33 percent. Is it every going to happen? The board in its wisdom made a decision that the only way to move this share transfer is loan MRDC K30million to pay for the stamp duty. Governor the stamp duty has been paid. OTML is now one third owned by the people of Western Province,” Sir Moi Avei told the excited crowds.

He also said this ensures that politics cannot interfere now because they own more than thirty percent of the mine.
Western Governor Taboi Yoto said in the past we were told that we own 63 percent but we do not have direct control of the funds.

“We have direct control of the 33 percent and that’s the difference,” Mr Taboi Yoto said.

According to the Governor out of the 33 percent, 12 percent is owned by CMCA communities through their board, the mine villages own 8.4 percent and the Fly River Provincial Government owns 12.6 percent.

“For the government with the four MPs, the PEC members and the LLG presidents, we will decide how we will use the money for development purposes.

“I thank the government of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for this.”

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PNG government to sue BHP Billiton over alleged environmental damage

Children playing in tailings downstream from the Ok Tedi Mine in Papua New Guinea, 2009. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

ABC News | 11 April 2018

Papua New Guinea’s government says it will sue Australian mining giant BHP Billiton for alleged environmental damage in the Western Province when the company was operating the country’s largest copper mine in the 1990s.

It’s not the first time legal action has been touted.

In 2004, a massive law suit representing thousands of PNG landowners, was dropped after settlement was reached, which included compensation.

PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the government will also initiate an independent commission of inquiry into the PNG sustainable development program, which has been a subject of a court case in Singapore.

Former PNGSDP Chairman and Opposition member of Parliament Sir Mekere Morauta says Mr O’Neill doesn’t understand the purpose of the project.

Bethanie Harriman has the story: Listen Here 

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Landslip Blocks Ok Tedi Access Road

Post Courier | February 27, 2018

A landslip has blocked off the Ok Tedi mine access road following an earthquake that occurred in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Ok Tedi Mining Limited confirmed that the landslip occurred on a section of the Tabubil-Mine Road in Western Province.

The landslip damaged the water and concentrate pipelines at the slip location. Maintenance work on the damaged pipes will begin as soon as road access is restored and spare pipes are transported to the location.

Managing director and chief executive officer Peter Graham said no damages had been reported at the mill and mine or in Tabubil township, however, the nearby Bultem village had lost power and options for restoring power to the village were being evaluated.

Early estimates were that it would take at least several days to clear the road to allow for normal traffic flow. Clearance would start this morning under strict safety provisions. In the meantime a skeleton crew will maintain inspections at the mill and mine, Mr Graham said.

He said the highway between Tabubil and Kiunga had also suffered from a number of smaller landslips and cracks, limiting access to light vehicles only.

Meanwhile, employees who worked the night shift at the mine and mill had been relocated safely back to Tabubil by helicopter, with all employees accounted for.

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O’Neill caught out telling lies over Ok Tedi Mine

Bryan Kramer MP | PNG Blogs | February 09, 2018 

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was caught lying and misleading Parliament during question time when it resumed its first session in 2018 on Tuesday.

O’Neill was responding to a question raised by the Governor of Western Province, Toboi Yoto asking when his people would benefit from Oktedi Mine and when they would receive the share certificates.

Western Governor explained that since the O’Neill Government took over the mine in September 2013 it had failed to transfer the share certificates representing 33% interest in the mine to the Western Province people. Further, still, they had yet to receive their dividends.

In response, O’Neill claimed when his Government took over the mine from BHP, who at the time wanted to shut down the mine for not being profitable. He said the Government inherited a loss-making machine.

He confirmed his Government has yet to transfer 33% interest to the landowners, claiming it was because of stamp duties issue.

Member for Moresby North-West Sir Mekere Mortaua interjected with a point of order. Mekere a former PNG Sustainable Chairman told O’Neill to stop his incurable lies [about the mine]. There was never any plans to shut down the mine it was not making any loss but investing in further explorations, Sir Mereke said.

O’Neil responded telling Mekere that he was only trying to protect his legacy of providing immunity (protection) to BHP, the mines former developer who destroyed the lives and livelihood of the people through environmental damage.

“It was loss-making machine when we took it over but we had to restructure the mine during the drought and paid off all the employees making a profit,” he said (source post courier article – https://postcourier.com.pg/ok-tedi-issue-heats/)

It was at this point I then interjected asking the Speaker to advise the Prime Minister to stop lying and misleading parliament. As I had in front of me 2012 OkTedi Financial Report confirming the mine was, in fact, making a profit.

O’Neill responded I was a busybody from Madang on social media.

So was O’Neill lying when he claimed the Oktedi Mine was a loss-making machine before he took over it?

O’Neill took over the mine in 2013, so let’s review the mine’s profits four years before and four years after from when he took over it.

  • In 2009 net profit K1.5 Billion
  • In 2010 net profit 2.03 Billion
  • In 2011 net profit K1.2 Billion
  • In 2012 net profit of K913 million
  • In 2013 net profit of K181 million
  • In 2014 net profit of K360 million
  • In 2015 net loss of -K347 million
  • In 2016 net profit of K384 million

This confirms O’Neill was lying and misleading parliament.

What O’Neill failed to disclose that soon after taking over the mine companies he held a direct and indirect interest in where awarded substantial contracts to service the mine.

So perhaps he was referring to his own companies being a loss making machines until he took over the Mine and thereafter they started turning over million Kina profits.

It is not the first time O’Neill has unashamedly lied both on the floor of Parliament and in the public arena.

In the height of 2017 General Elections O’Neill made an announcement while on the campaign trail in Tari that his Government had made the decision to transfer the 4.27% Kroton shares to the PNG LNG landowners.

“Today I am announcing that the national government will transfer 25 per cent of Kroton shares, which is 4.2 percent indirect interest in the PNG LNG project,” he said.

“The shares to be transferred to landowners and provincial governments in Hela, Southern Highlands, Gulf, Western and Central province are valued at K3.5 billion,

“Our Government is providing 25 per cent of Kroton shares to landowners and beneficiary groups that should rightfully be receiving benefits from the PNG LNG project.

“These shares will enable the landowners and communities and the provinces to secure a better future and to be more self-sufficient.

“This Government has made it our business to correct bad decisions from the past, particularly when this relates to land ownership.

“I was not a signatory to the initial Umbrella Benefits Sharing Agreement in 2009, but I have made sure that our government does the right thing by our people today.

“This in the same spirit as the transfer of 17.4 percent of BCL shares to the landowners and people of Bougainville by the national government.”

“It is the same as the transfer of 33 per cent ownership in Ok Tedi” O’Neill said. (source https://www.thenational.com.pg/clans-promised-shares/)

So did O’Neill transfer the 4.27% of Kroton shares in the PNG LNG Project to the landowners? Did he transfer the 33 per cent ownership in the Oktedi mine to Western landowners?

The answer is NO.

Such statements maybe construed as undue influence (criminal offence under Section 102) When a person makes a false statement to induce a voter to vote in a particular way knowing the statement to be false.

This explains why O’Neill is commonly referred to as a Pathological Liar – defined as habitual or compulsive lying.

It is certainly embarrassing knowing such a person occupies the office of Prime Minister where his shrewd conduct and poor character reflects on our Nation of 8 million people.

Following the formation of the Government in August 2017 I asked members of the Opposition who previously served under O’Neill why they abandoned his Government – they responded because he was forever lying, making commitments or promises he would never honor. “We got tired of his lies and left” they said.

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PM: State still holding 33pc shares in Ok Tedi

The National aka The Loggers Times | February 7, 2018

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill says the Government is still holding onto the 33 per cent share equity in Ok Tedi for the people of Western, plus their dividends.
Western Governor Toboi Awi Yoto had queried in Parliament the non-issuance of the share certificate after the Government had announced in 2016 the transfer of the 33 per cent share equity in Ok Tedi to the people of Western.
Yoto said the people and their leaders had supported the Government in September 2013 in taking over the ownership of Ok Tedi from the PNG Sustainable Development Programme in good faith.
“They have done this hoping that they will receive better benefits from the Government,” he said.
“When will the share certificate be given to the people of Western, and when will we be given our dividends from the 33 per cent share equity? We are aware that OTML declared three dividends payments to shareholders last year.”
O’Neill said the Government took over the ownership of OTML in 2013 and in 2016 transferred 33 per cent of the ownership to the people of Western.
“The transfer was done at no cost through their company Mineral Resource Ok Tedi No 2 Limited and Mineral Resource Star Mountain Limited.”
He said the two companies were to pay their taxation of stamp duty.
“One-third of the dividends declared by OTML is in a trust kept by the Mineral Resource Development Company for the benefit of Western,” he said.
“As soon as the shares are stamped and handed over to the governor, it will come together with the cheque payment for the dividends.”

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Ok Tedi Mining Ltd damaged by O’Neill

O’Neill may have turned the Ok Tedi mine into a corporate disaster, as Morauta claims below, but Morauta can hardly claim that under his leadership the outcomes for the poor people of Western Province were any better…  

Mekere Morauta | 14 June 2017

At a rally in Kiunga today, the former Prime Minister and current chairman of PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd, Sir Mekere Morauta, told Western Province people the sad story of the Ok Tedi mine since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill took it in 2013.

He told them that the latest annual financial results are a disgrace, and confirm his worst fears about Mr O’Neill’s expropriation without compensation in 2013.

“They show that a well-managed and very profitable company under PNGSDP’s majority ownership has been turned into a corporate disaster under Mr O’Neill, as I predicted,” Sir Mekere said.

“OTML made a loss of K350 million in 2015, by far the largest in its history and far outstripping the K15 million loss caused by the very severe drought in 1997. The company never made a loss under PNGSDP majority ownership.

“This is Mr O’Neill’s dirty little secret. He and the OTML Board micro-managed by Dr Jacob Weiss have tried to hide the loss by not publishing OTML’s 2015 Annual Review, or its 2015 and 2016 quarterly financial results.

There is no explanation anywhere in the latest 2016 Annual Review to account for a loss of this magnitude.

“The only explanation can be the waste and mismanagement we have come to expect of the O’Neill Government.”

Mr O’Neill has decimated OTML profits. Under PNGSDP, average annual profits were almost K1.2 billion a year; under Mr O’Neill they are just K100 million.

OTML used to be the biggest taxpayer in PNG, which helped the national Government pay for education, health and infrastructure maintenance.

Under PNGSDP average annual taxes were K640 million; under Mr O’Neill they are just K100 million. OTML paid practically NO company tax at all in 2015 and 2016.

PNGSDP’s profitable and well run mine delivered large dividends: K288 million a year was paid on average to the State and the people of Western Province. A further K426 million a year went to PNGSDP.

After administration costs (which are capped), two-thirds was saved in the Long Term Fund and one-third went to the Development Fund to support programs for the people of Western Province and PNG.

Under Mr O’Neill total dividends have fallen to just K68 million a year on average, and no dividends at all were paid in 2013 and 2015. Only K150 million was paid in 2016 compared to K723 million in 2012, PNGSDP’s last full year of ownership.

PNGSDP received K5.5 billion in dividends from OTML between 2002 and 2012. Two-thirds of these dividends were invested in the Long Term Fund to be used after the mine closes. The balance of the LTF at the end of March 2017 had grown to K4.3 billion ($US1.36 billion).

Moreover, the LTF remains safe and well protected from the tentacles of the octopus.

One-third of these dividends (about K1.8 billion) were used for development programs in PNG and especially Western Province.

In total Western Province received more than K4.7 billion in direct benefits from OTML and PNGSDP: K2.0 billion in royalties, CMCA and other payments, K1.7 billion in dividends from OTML, K400 million for Kiunga-Tabubil road maintenance and more than K600 million in development projects from PNGSDP.

In October 2013, shortly after the expropriation of PNGSDP’s shares in OTML, Sir Mekere warned that OTML faced the same fate as the Tolukuma gold mine under state ownership:

State ownership “would spell disaster for Ok Tedi. Tolukuma has been ruined since it was turned into a State-Owned Enterprise, and instead of an asset it has become a huge liability. Ok Tedi will suffer the same fate. It will die a long and painful death. There will be risks to jobs and wages. There will be a lower standard of operations, including in workplace health and safety. The quality of environmental management will fall. Transparency and accountability will be compromised, especially in the area of contracts.”

Sir Mekere said his predictions had come true. “Mr O’Neill has killed Western Province’s Golden Goose.”

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Locals Call For Leaders To Stop Politicising On PNGSDP

Post Courier | April 28, 2017

LEADERS from the special mining Lease area in Ok Tedi in the Western Province have called on intending candidates to stop politicising the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP).
They said they were making the call after concluding the signing of the heads of agreement for the transfer of 33 percent of the mine to them this week.
They said the road to the finalisation of the deal had been long and challenging after suffering years of neglect and marginal benefits from the mine.
They said this had been the status quo since closure of the Panguna which offsetting opening of OK Tedi which had been the country’s economic backbone for a long time.
“We particularly are very concerned that the matter of the Long Term Fund under the PNGSDP has been used as an issue for people with vested interest to score political mileage at the expense of the very people who are entitled to benefit from this fund,” CMCA region core group chairman Richard Zumoi said.
He also called for the immediate resignation of Sir Mekere Morauta as Chairman of the Board of PNGSDP to remove all possible political interference and influence on the organisation because he should not be politicising the issue in the elections.
He said outside of politics it was time for the people of Western Province to be in control of their own development destinies adding there should be two representatives from their people appointed onto the PNGSDP board.
“We are now demanding that there should not be any more statements relating to the PNGSDP issue unless there is a sincere intention and will to reform the program charter and rules to ensure that the people of Western Province receive full benefits in the form of tangible and sustainable
infrastructure and services because we the people gave the social license for the mine to continue to operate,” Mr Zumoi said.

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