Sparks fly in battle over Ok Tedi mine

Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

Rowan Callick | The Australian

THE extraordinary battle for control of the vast copper-gold mine at Ok Tedi and of its revenues, including the $1.4 billion long-term fund reserved for future generations, has heated up in Papua New Guinea.

The conflict emerged in November, when Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told parliament:

“I want to put it on record that (the then chairman of Ok Tedi Mining, Ross Garnaut) will be no longer welcome in this country until BHP surrenders control of PNG Sustainable Development Program to the government and people of PNG.”

The mine — which provides almost 20 per cent of the government’s income, more than $500 million a year — is owned 63.4 per cent by PNGSDP, a trust established by BHP Billiton when it quit the mine a decade ago, 24.4 per cent by the PNG national government, and 12.2 per cent by the government of Western…

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