NEC approved the free transfer of equity in OTML following consultation between Landowners, the Governor and Western Province officials and the National Government. The balance of the remaining 67 percent of OTML is owned by people of Papua New Guinea through the State.
“This decision is fair and just, and it will be of great benefit to the people of Western Province following decades of neglect,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
“The people of Western Province have long suffered extensive environmental harm that has been caused by the Ok Tedi mine. “It is important that affected communities are recognized and receive compensation, while at the same time efforts continue to improve environmental practices at the mine.
“Representatives from the CMCA communities, mine villages and the Western Provincial Government will be holding further discussions to propose how the 33 percent will be distributed.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill advised that the management and Board of OTML will be very independent with the State and Western Province together appointing three board members, while the remaining four will be independent experts including the Chairman who must be a Papua New Guinea citizen.
“The Board arrangements will be unique for any State Owned Enterprise and this is aimed at improving governance and ensuring transparency while bringing in worlds best practice to OTML.”
The Prime Minister said the Ok Tedi mine is unique and is the product of a bygone era of governance and corporate social responsibility. “It was a different world when Ok Tedi was established, when respect for the environment and downstream health issues were not given the same level of concern as they are today.
“The unprecedented environmental harm has affected almost the whole of Western Province. “We cannot change the past but we have the opportunity to create a brighter future for the people of Western Province. “The government is committed to improving the living standards of the people of Western Province.
“For too long the people of Western Province have suffered from treatable diseases and today are facing the challenge of multi drug resistant TB. This is not acceptable.” The Prime Minister said people in Western Province are also determined to be given possession of the substantial amount of money held by the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) that is subject to an ongoing court hearing in Singapore.
“The Government wants to see the money being held by the PNGSDP returned to the people of Western Province. “That money should be put to use now to improve the living standards for the people of Western Province and not whittled away by people from outside the province. “The money in the long term fund held by PNGSDP belongs to the people of Western Province and it must be given to them.”