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PNG Government strikes deal with Ok Tedi landowners

Staff Reporter | 1:58 AM | ||
OK Tedi mining lease area principle landowners have accepted key offers by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to end the current standoff over the mine issue.

Representatives of the 10 villages situated around the Ok Tedi mining lease area – Mineral Resources Star Mountains (MRSM) – in a meeting with Mr O’Neill agreed to the offers at Parliament House yesterday.

These offers include the increasing of MRSM’s shareholding in Ok Tedi Mining Limited by the O’Neill-Dion Government, after it takes over PNG Sustainable Development Program, and the building of a tailings dam for the safe dumping of the mine’s waste.

Mr O’Neill said the board members had expressed support towards the Government for its decision to take over PNGSDP, as PNGSDP had failed miserably to deliver tangible services to the people of Western Province.

“On behalf of the Government, I am offering to increase your shareholding of the Ok Tedi mine and establish a proper tailings dam, to control environmental pollution, particularly to the rivers and subsequently to avoid further harm to nature,” the Prime Minister told the landowners at yesterday’s meeting.

He said since PNGSDP had not built any infrastructure and the landowners had expressed gratitude that the Government had acquired PNGSDP and could now bring services to them.

Board member and Deputy Governor of Western Province, Borok Pitalok, said the board was fully satisfied with the outcomes of their discussions.

“Like a pig, it must be slaughtered and distributed accordingly,” Mr Pitalok said.

“That is exactly how we’ve anticipated it to be all along with the revenue from the mine, however, BHP Billiton has failed to distribute it evenly.

“Therefore, we have now allowed the Government to distribute the revenue accordingly to all the shareholders and have asked for Western Province to receive the largest portion.’’

Mr O’Neill says the decision on PNGSDP is for the people.

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