25 Sep 2013

PNG Govt takes over Ok Tedi and terminates Morauta as board chairman

1:28 pm on 25 September 2013

The Papua New Guinea government has transferred the shares in OK Tedi Mining Limited or OTML to the State, and terminated the appointment of Sir Mekere Morauta as the chairman of the OTML board.

The Prime Minister Peter O'Neill revealed this on Monday when announcing the appointment of four members to the board including a new acting chairman.

The acting Secretary of Treasury Diari Vele will act as Chairman, and he will be supported by Dr Modowa Gumoi, who is also acting Administrator of the Western Provincial Government, Nigel Parker, currently the managing director of OTML, and Dr Jacob Weiss, a Banking and Finance Executive.

Mr O'Neill says the new board members will provide OTML with strong and accountable leadership, and ensure the best interests of the people of the Western Province, including that landowners in the mine area are given the highest priority.

He says the appointments follow the passage by Parliament last week of legislation transferring the shareholding in OTML held by the PNG Sustainable Development Program to the State.

The Program had been responsible for overseeing aid and income generating programs across PNG and was set up by former mine owner, BHP Billiton in 2002.

Mr O'Neill says the appointment of Sir Mekere as Chairman of OTML and a Board member has now ceased following the National Executive Council's approval of the new Board Members, including an acting chairman.

Sir Mekere, a former Papua New Guinea prime minister, was a strong critic of the government's decision to takeover 100 percent ownership of the mine.