PNG Court Orders Ok Tedi Mine To Temporarily Stop Dumping In Rivers

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Country’s largest mine likely to cease operations until hearing

By Todagia Kelola

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 27, 2014) – The country’s largest mine, Ok Tedi, is likely to grind to a halt today after the National Court gave orders stopping it from dumping anymore wastes into the Ok Mani, Ok Tedi and Fly rivers and all its tributaries pending the substantive hearing of the matter in two weeks time.

The order was granted following an application by a number of leaders and beneficiaries from the South Fly District who had named Finance Minister James Marape, Secretary For Mining Sadrach Himata, the State, OTML, PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd, Bank South Pacific and the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (PNG) Ltd as defendants.

The landowners had gone to court for two main reasons. They alleged that the continued dumping of mine wastes and tailings into the Ok Tedi, Ok Mani and the Fly rivers and all its tributaries has adversely affected the lives of people living along the river systems and that a number of trust funds established for the benefit of the people of Western Province were being depleted at a fast rate and that the court should intervene to stop the peoples’ money being spent without their consent.

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