19 Sep 2013

Parliament passes bill giving PNG Govt 100 percent in Ok Tedi mine

5:56 am on 19 September 2013

The Papua New Guinea National Parliament has passed amendments to the OK Tedi Mining Agreement which will see the State own 100 percent of OK Tedi mine.

The bill introduced by the prime minister Peter O'Neill was passed by 62-0 votes despite several members including former prime minister Sir Michael Somare, abstaining by walking out of the chambers before the vote was taken.

The chairman of OK Tedi mine limited, Sir Mekere Morauta, also a critic, had accused the state of trying to steal Ok Tedi Mining Limited from the people of Western Province.

But Peter O'Neill said the legislation was an important Bill to be introduced to the House, and that no one can sit in the House and excuse the mine's former owner BHP Billiton for the destruction it had caused.

The new legislation will repeal the indemnity given to BHP making it liable for environmental damage created by the mine in the Fly River.

When making the amendments, parliament also passed a new tenth Supplementary Agreement that will result in the cancellation of PNG Sustainable Development Program shares in the mine and the issue of new shares to the State.

The Program is responsible for overseeing aid and income generating programs across PNG and was set up by BHP Billiton in 2002.