IN August Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) paid out more than K40 million to Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) communities under CMCA Extension Agreements. These agreements were signed in December 2012, formalising community consent for the extension of Ok Tedi mine life from 2015 to 2025.

OTML deputy chief executive officer and general manager employee and external relations Musje Werror said the annual payments were consistent with this agreement.

The CMCA regions include North Ok Tedi, Highway (Tutuwe), Lower Ok Tedi, Middle Fly, Suki Fly Gogo, Manawete, Kiwaba and Dudi. The regions have established trusts to approve the use of funds allocated for development, investments, and women and children.

He said mine villages, including Atemkit, Bultem, Finalbin, Kavorbip, Migalsim and Wangbin, would receive 9 million kina in September under the Mine Village Development Funds, land lease and general compensation payments.

“By the end of this year over K80 million will have been paid to CMCA communities and mine villages under the various compensation and benefit sharing agreements between the communities, landowners and OTML.

“This includes K15 million paid out in April 2016 under the Ok Tedi Restated Eight Supplementary Agreement General Compensation to the communities,” said Musje Werror.

OTML community relations manager Kuam Sanewai said apart from the funds going into the trusts, a large portion was allocated for cash payments to over 18,000 family accounts covering a population of 127,000 people. He explained that the cash disbursements and the development, investment, women and children funds were managed by Deloitte while Ok Tedi Development Foundation was responsible for delivery of trust approved projects and programs.

OTML is a state-owned company that operates an open-pit copper, gold and silver mine in the Star Mountains of Western Province. The company holds a large portfolio of exploration leases in the vicinity of its Mt Fubilan mining operations and is undertaking near-mine exploration.

Mine closure had originally been planned for around 2010 however, after completing extensive studies and analyses which resulted in further definition of the Mt Fubilan resource, the company has a profitable future as a competitive producer of copper, gold and silver for the next decade or more.

Continuation of the mine was agreed to and supported by the communities affected by the mine’s operations. This was achieved through an extensive consultation and engagement process from 2009 through to 2012.

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