21 Oct 2010

PNG critical of Ok Tedi-related development programme

2:49 pm on 21 October 2010

The Papua New Guinea government has criticised the development group headed by Australia's climate change expert Ross Garnaut for failing to deliver improvements needed after BHP Billiton's environmental disaster at the Ok Tedi copper mine.

Professor Garnaut is chairman of the billion-dollar PNG Sustainable Development Program that's responsible for overseeing aid and income generating programs across PNG.

The Program was set up by BHP Billiton in 2002 after it divested its 52 percent shareholding.

The Treasurer, Peter O'Neill, has written to BHP Billiton, which picks three of the six board members, calling for Professor Garnaut and his team to be sacked because after nearly a decade, the Program has achieved little.

The Program has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia's Origin Energy to develop a huge hydro electricity project on the Purari River in Gulf province.

The Queensland government has expressed an interest in using the power.