With 10 years of mine life remaining, Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) is committed to enabling a sustainable future for its 158 CMCA (Community Mine Continuation Agreement) communities post closure.

OTML Managing Director and CEO Musje Werror said this when he presented at the Community Affairs and Business Development workshop hosted by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum at the Hilton Hotel earlier this month in Port Moresby.

“Ok Tedi will be the first big mine to close and there will be many lessons that will be drawn from Ok Tedi’s experience, not only from the technical aspects of closure, but importantly from the social and sustainability aspects as well,” he said.

“We are developing our social and closure strategy which will address focus areas as identified in our Vision 2025. These include the transfer of public infrastructure assets, for example the maintenance of the Tabubil/Kiunga Highway to third parties prior to cessation of production, creating alternative income generating opportunities for the CMCA communities, sustaining community programs implemented by the Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF), increase National and Local content in service contracts, and the nationalisation of leadership roles in OTML.”

He added that it will be challenging given the mine related dependencies built over time and the lack of commercial industries operating in the Western Province.

OTML funds and operates the mining township of Tabubil which include the Tabubil Hospital at an annual cost of about K150 million, maintains the Kiunga-Tabubil Highway at K30 million a year, and provides power, and water and sewerage services in Kiunga at a cost of about K30 million per annum.

“We need to identify new owners that can assume and operate these services well before mine closure so these services can be sustained. Finding the right owners is not easy let alone the ongoing funding to maintain the services post closure,” he said.

Despite these challenges, the province is privileged to have major development partners such as the government, OTDF, Sustainable Development Program, Incentive Fund and Innovative Agro Industry who are already implementing sustainable development programs in the province.

Werror said OTML will continue to have discussions with these partners including the Fly River Provincial Government to address these challenges.

He concluded his presentation by saying that it is time to ensure the people of the Western Province, more so the CMCA communities are better off into the future for they have given their land and waterways to support the development of this country since the commencement of mine production in 1984.

Source: OTML