OK Tedi Mining says No benefits reserved pending payment

 Papua New Guinea's OK TEDI Mining Ltd (OTML) says there are no benefits that have been reserved pending payment to beneficiaries.

The company said this in response to an article in the Post Courier on July 21 and other media queries seeking clarification on claims by certain Mt Fubilan landowners that court ordered Mine Pit Benefit payments had not been made by OTML.

Landowners claimed that documents verifying the court ordered payments were submitted to OTML and they were yet to receive a response.

The mine operator confirmed receipt of the documents and said it had responded to the clan leaders in February.

“OTML has been paying all benefits due to landowners, including monthly royalties and annual lease payments unless directed by a court of competent jurisdiction to withhold payments,” a company spokesman said.

“Currently, there are no benefits parked and/or managed by OTML in trust accounts awaiting distribution or a decision of the court.

“The four Special Mining Lease (SML) villages of Bultem, Finalbin, Kaborabip and Atemkit have been receiving their monthly royalty payments and the annual lease payments since the commencement of mining operations and the concerned clan is also a beneficiary to these royalty and lease payments as per their internal benefit distribution arrangement.”

The company added that it did not pay any form of special payment such as Mine Pit Benefits to any SML landowners, incorporated land groups or leaders.

OTML further stated that it was concerned the matter was an inter-clan issue regarding the sharing of benefits within one particular clan group and did not involve the whole SML villages where there were other clans who were landowners.

It said an agreement was reached between the clan on the sharing of benefits however, this particular clan group was now challenging the ownership of the SML which was a separate matter.

In support of OTML’s stance, the mine landowners also refuted the Kimka Sepian claim for the SML ownership stating that the Kimka Sepian matter was an internal clan matter on the distribution of the benefit and not on the ownership.

A landowner spokesman said the SML was a communal ownership for the four SML villages and matters pertaining to land ownership needed to involve the four SML villages and not just one particular clan or leader.

The National / Pacific Mining Watch

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