More equity for villagers
By GYNNIE KERO
PEOPLE from six mine area villages which host the Ok Tedi Mine Project have become the first landowners to own a larger than mandated equity share in any resource project in PNG.
This followed the signing of a benefit-sharing agreement in Alotau, Milne Bay last weekend.
It will see the six mine villages and 152 Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) villages sharing the 33 percent direct equity interest in the Ok Tedi Mining Limited.
The parties present at the signing last Saturday included Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari, the Core Group leaders and representatives from the mine area villages, representatives from the CMCA region, Mineral Resource Development Company, and Mineral Resource Star Mountain, Mineral Resources Ok Tedi No. 2, Ok Tedi Mining Limited and the State representative from Mineral Resources Authority.
The National Executive Council decision relating to the granting of the free equity was made in 2014.
The benefit sharing Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) took over two years of negotiation among landowners, the Fly River provincial government and the State.
The share distribution of the 33 per cent equity will see the CMCA group owning 12 percent, the mine area villages 9 percent, the Fly River Provincial Government 12 per cent of which part of its interest will be shared with three districts (North Fly, Middle Fly and South Fly).
The percentage breakup was agreed to by parties through a share distribution agreement in July 2015.
Lupari said the villagers now had one-third direct participation.
“It is for the first time in the history of this country and it’s a big decision for the landowners to have direct participation from OTML,” Lupari said.
According to the agreement, 40 percent of the benefits from the respective shares will be paid in cash to landowners. The other 40 percent will go towards investment purposes and 20 percent towards infrastructure development programmes and projects.
“In my capacity as the chairman of MRDC, I will ensure that we look after your money well,” Lupari said.
MRDC’s managing director Augustine Mano thanked everyone involved in the signing.