PRESS RELEASE – 4TH JUNE, 2018
The Resource Owners Federation of Papua New Guinea congratulates Ok Tedi Mining Limited for its declaration of more than K800 million in profits from its operations in 2017. The Federation is particularly pleased that the Ok Tedi mine landowners and their provincial government will be sharing at least K260 million, being 33% of the profits of the mine, which is proportionate to their recently increased shareholding handed to them by the O’Neil government.
The receipt of such a significant amount of the profits from the mine will be ground breaking and hence a new precedent for all landowners in the mining and petroleum industry throughout the country. This occasion must be celebrated and commemorated going forward, by all landowners across the country. It has been a long and hard battle by landowners in Bougainville, Ok Tedi, Porgera, the Hela and others for a fair return on their capital investment of their lands and environments in their respective mining or petroleum projects, since the opening of the very first large-scale mining project in Panguna in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The country and the world has since, witnessed the relentless fight both in the law courts of justice domestically and in foreign jurisdictions, by Papua New Guinean landowner leaders in the likes of Teori Tau of Bougainville, Peter Donigi of the Sepik and Rex Yangi of Ok Tedi, for a fair and appropriate share of the benefits for the extraction of their natural resources. Many more such as Bougainville’s Francis Ona and others, then persistently pursued their claim for justice violently, which saw the closure of the biggest copper mine in the south Pacific. Experts have recently warned that the Hela are the next group of landowners to take up arms to claim their fair share of the benefits from the LNG project, whilst the Porgeran landowners of the Enga Province, have lodged a massive US$ 4 billion claim against the State and the Porgera Gold Mine for their share of promised benefits and entitlements from that mine.
Prime Minister Peter O Niel’s actions on the subject recently in handing over a 33% interest in the Ok Tedi Mine to the landowners , his action in handing over a significant amount of the shares in the Bouganvillean Copper mine to the Bougainville landowners and his recent statements in Parliament to do the same for the Engans in Porgera and others going forward may now settle the landowners throughout the country, which in turn could allow the natural resource industry to flourish and thereby boosting the economic development of the country.