PNG court orders stop to Ok Tedi waste dumping
PNG court orders stop to Ok Tedi waste dumping pending a substantive hearing on the matter.
Papua New Guinea's largest mine Ok Tedi Mining Limited has been ordered to stop dumping any more mine waste and tailings into the Ok Mani, Ok Tedi and Fly River and all its tributaries, pending a substantive hearing on the matter in two weeks.
The order was granted by the National Court last week after an application by landowners and beneficiaries from the South Fly District.
Our correspondent Todagia Kelola told Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor the action by the landowners came as a surprise to many.
TODAGIA KELOLA: The mine has been in operation for quite some time and there is no tailings dam and it is not new that the mine has been disposing its waste into the river system and if you fly over the western province in the air you can clearly see that there is definitely pollution by the mine.
MOERA TUILAEPA-TAYLOR: And I just wanted to check too, so, I see that the decision was made in the court last Friday and there is also now pending a substantive hearing of the matter in two weeks time?
TK: Basically the landowners took this matter to court for two reasons. One was they allege the river system is seriously or adversely affecting their lives and there is a fund, the Western Province people's trust account or trust fund where because of the environmental damage they were promised a one-off payment of 45 million, now the landowners went to court alleging they are yet to see any benefits from that fund and yet it is being depleted at a very fast rate so they have convinced the judge that the landowners were supposed to benefit from this fund and are not benefiting so the national court, apart from stopping the mine from dumping its waste into the river system, has also ordered that those funds be frozen and be put into the national court's registry account. The judge also ordered for a specialist environment person to go into the river system and independently assess the environmental damages and a health specialist who will check on the people who have been affected by the pollution of the river.
MTT: I was just wondering too, have you had any reaction from the mining people, OK Tedi mining?
TK: Yes, I contacted them yesterday and they just emailed me a one sentence reply - that it could not comment at this stage because it was yet to be served the court orders.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: