25 Mar 2013

PNG Government clarifies position on Ok Tedi

4:14 pm on 25 March 2013

The government of Papua New Guinea is still considering whether to extend the lease for OK Tedi Mining Ltd under a new management structure.

The PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says last week's media reports quoting him saying the lease would not be extended when it expired at the end of 2013 were wrong.

The mine is jointly owned by the PNG government and the PNG Sustainable Development Project which was set up after mining giant BHP withdrew amid reports the mine was responsible for major environmental damage.

Mr O'Neill says if the mine's life is extended it will come under a new management structure.

He says that would only happen after consultation with the people and government of Western Province, where the mine is located.

Mr O'Neill has previously criticised the PNG Sustainable Development Project as being run by BHP via remote control.

He says it is time for BHP to move on.

Late last year Mr O'Neill ordered economist and former Sustainability Development Project chairman Ross Garnaut be banned from PNG after the latter implied the government would not spend the Project's money wisely.

Former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta took on the chairmanship in November.