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Ok Tedi Commemorates World Environment Day
by PNG Business News - June 09, 2021
OTML, and its contractor personnel posing with some of the 1,000 trees they planted to commemorate the World Environment Day on June 05.
Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) commemorated the World Environment Day on June 5th by planting over 1,000 trees in Tabubil, and at its Mine Waste Management project site at Bige located 80 kilometres downriver from the mine.
In line with this year’s World Environment Day (WED) Theme ‘Ecosystem Restoration’, the Bige project is testament of the company’s commitment to rehabilitate and restore the ecosystem that is impacted by the mining operations.
The dredging project was established in 1997 as one of OTML’s mitigation measures to reduce impacts on the environment and the livelihoods of the people that rely on the river system.
The dredge removes at least 10 million cubic meters of sand annually which reduces riverbed levels and prevents overbank flooding and forest dieback from occurring.
The dredged sand is hydraulically placed in engineered stockpiles on the east and west banks at Bige covering an area of 1000 ha of land that had been impacted by dieback in the mid1990s.
Since the commencement of the dredge operations, over 200 million cubic metres of material have been dredged from the lower Ok Tedi river.
In a statement, the OTML Environment Department Manager, Jesse Pile said, “After more than two decades of dredging, at a cost of USD55 Million per annum, the riverbed levels have reduced by 2 to 4 metres in the lower Ok Tedi, and have stabilised, including in the Middle Fly region.”
“Overbank flooding and the associated forest dieback have decreased compared to 1996/1997 period and recovery of some forest species are observed in the lower Ok Tedi and upper Middle Fly River as a result of bed level reduction.”
This year the OTML Environment Department was unable to engage in other activities such as conducting school essay competitions and doing clean-a-thons due to COVID-19.
“Our celebration this year was low key with the COVID-19 restrictions and control measures at our operational sites and in Tabubil.” Mr Pile said.
PNG Business News - March 29, 2021
Mass Testing Program Implemented at Ok Tedi Mining
Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) has begun introducing a Mass Testing Program within its activities in order to avoid further COVID-19 transmission and ensure a secure return to operations. Following a spike in COVID-19 cases on the mine site and in Papua New Guinea, the company began introducing the program on Friday, March 19th, for a period of 14 days. OTML has successfully implemented the research initiative, collecting over 4,000 test samples from its staff, contractors, corporate associates, and families so far. These samples are being sent to Australia for processing, and the National Control Centre in Port Moresby is receiving daily reports. People who achieve a positive outcome are cared for and supported in the isolation and quarantine process, according to OTML's contact tracing and isolation protocols. The mass testing program, according to OTML Health Manager Dr. Charlie Turharus, has aided his medical staff, which consists of physicians and health care practitioners from the OTML-funded Tabubil Hospital, in quickly testing and isolating COVID-19 cases. “Fortunately, almost all the cases we have recorded are asymptomatic or only showing mild to moderate symptoms,” he said. OTML's Mass Testing scheme has included almost all of the mine's work areas, including Kiunga and Bige, where the company's wharf and dredging operations are located. Personnel in Port Moresby and its geographic discovery sites were also put to the test. “Our priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of all our personnel, and we will ensure that this mass testing program is implemented successfully so that we contain the spread of the virus and resume safe productions,” Dr Turharus said. The testing schedule is on target to prepare for the resumption of operations after the closure time is completed.
PNG Business News - March 31, 2021
Ok Tedi Mining Welcomes 40 New Trainees
Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) has added 40 new interns to its internship programs for 2021. Sixteen of the intakes will be part of the Graduate Development Scheme for two years, while the other 24 will be trade graduates who will complete a four-year apprenticeship program. OTML Managing Director and CEO, Musje Werror said, “Ok Tedi’s training programs are second to none and aimed at developing trainees to reach their full potential in their professional career paths and personal development.” Despite the fact that the recruitment drive was postponed due to the outbreak of the pandemic, he said that all trainees are on site and ready to join the Ok Tedi family. “The Training Centre is fully equipped to deliver high-quality training programs for both apprentices, graduates and employees which we have been doing for the past 32 years,” Werror said. One of the three main elements of OTML's commitment to developing a high-performing cohesive team is developing staff skills. He urged the newcomers to take advantage of the chance to start a new career and personal life. Werror said, “In life, you will be given opportunities, but how you approach these opportunities will determine where you end up.” Werror joined Ok Tedi as a fresh graduate from the University of Papua New Guinea thirty years ago, and today, as the managing director of the business, he is welcoming the new graduate trainees into OTML. Referring to Mr Werror’s story with OTML, Dauba Dauba, a graduate geologist from the University of Papua New Guinea said, “This in itself is an inspirational story for us.” At the programs' inception, 561 graduates and 1,194 tradesmen and women have graduated from their respective programs. Ok Tedi also provides the Preferred Area Development Training which is tailored for the locals in the Mine Preferred Areas. Manager, Organisational Development and Training, James Munro said, “We look forward to training another great batch of graduates and I encourage each and every one of you to work hard to succeed in this program.”
PNG Business News - March 19, 2021
Ok Tedi Halts Operations in Order to Contain the Spread of Covid-19
COVID-19 has forced Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) to pause operations in order to protect its employees, communities, and operations. Due to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases at the mine site and in Papua New Guinea, OTML will temporarily pause operations on Friday, March 19th for 14 days to prevent further virus transmission within its operations. This suspension, according to OTML, coincides with the PNG government's National Isolation Strategy, which will go into effect on Monday, March 22nd. The success of the control steps, as well as when the virus has been contained, will decide when regular operations will resume. The decision to halt operations reflects OTML's commitment to take all reasonable steps to ensure the protection, health, and well-being of its staff, families, contractors, and host communities, as well as to allow a stable, cost-effective, and timely resumption of operations for the benefit of all stakeholders. During the suspension, the organization will take steps such as repatriating non-essential workers to their home provinces and introducing a mass testing program for its staff. Any staff may be forced to work regular hours during the suspension of operations in order to maintain essential services or for treatment and maintenance. The suspension is expected to result in a revenue loss of about PGK210 million, which will have a direct effect on foreign currency inflows into PNG. Meanwhile, the Company is weighing its options in light of the Australian government's decision to temporarily halt the fly-in and fly-out of mineworkers based in Australia. It said, “We do not anticipate significant disruption to our operations as a result of the Australian Government’s announcement, however, we are looking at alternative ways to repatriate several of our expatriate employees during the suspension of operations.” After COVID-19 cases were discovered in Queensland from international travellers in hotel quarantine, the company declared that it was suspending international charter flights into Australia. OTML hires over 1,800 people directly, with less than 4% of them being expatriates. OTML also confirmed that it would collaborate with the PNG government to help with vaccine procurement and distribution for OTML employees.
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PNG Business News - June 15, 2021
PNG Vanilla Company Partners Expo2020 Team
Dr. Nancy Irwin (left) with the Deputy Commissioner General for Expo2020 and Head of the PNG Expo2020 Secretariat, Mrs. Jacinta Warakai-Manua began the partnership to tell the PNG Vanilla story in Dubai, by exchanging ideas in Port Moresby last week. A vanilla production and export company is partnering with the PNG Expo2020 Team to promote their products in the Dubai World Exposition that starts in October this year. KAMAPIM, a company working with landowners in the Madang and Morobe Provinces produces top quality vanilla beans and is already exporting to the EU market. The Managing Director of the company Dr. Nancy Irwin, met with the PNG Commissioner General to Expo2020 Ambassador Joshua Kalinoe and his Deputy Mrs. Jacinta Warakai-Manua in Port Moresby last week to firm up the arrangements. Dr. Irwin said Kamapim (pidgin for develop and to improve) concentrates its efforts in producing the best quality bean for the international market through quality assurance production methods. “PNG farmers can grow anything, they have instinctive ability to grow well any crops. When I first started the project, the quality of the beans were poor, full of fungus due to lack of processing knowledge. We saw huge potential of the organically grown beans and started working with landowners through a cooperative production and marketing structure to improve quality” “The company provide extension services to farmers and buy the beans directly, ensuring farmers are paid a fair price for their efforts”, she said. Dr Irwin said the beans are tested internationally and are consistently classed as the top-quality A grade level. “While PNG has a good perception of growing environment friendly organic vanilla beans, the challenge is for the relevant Government authorities to work with farmers to improve quality. I believe the cooperative production methods applied by our company, Kamapim, could be used nationally as one of the models to improve quality for the export market as well as to maximize revenue gain for farmers”, Dr. Irwin said. She said the company is looking forward to partnering with the PNG Expo2020 Team to tell the PNG story and to connect with niche importers in Dubai and the Arab world in general. Dr. Irwin said the company would promote its products in specially branded PNG Expo2020 containers to create visibility for the country as well as to preserve quality at the company’s cost.
PNG Business News - June 15, 2021
PNGEITI Praises Open Dialogue to Reopen Porgera Mine
The PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) has praised the open stakeholder dialogue culminating in reaching consensus to re-open the Pogera Mine in Enga. Parties in April this year sanctioned a “Framework Agreement for the New Pogera Project” which spells out the roadmap to reopen the mine. Mark Bristow, CEO and President of Barrick Gold last week explained key elements of “Framework Agreement for the New Pogera Project” at a public forum at the Piam Oval in Pogera witnessed by PNG Prime Minister James Marape, landowners and other leaders. In the new agreement, PNG stakeholders will together own a 51 % equity stake in the mine while Barrick Niguini Limited (BNL), a joint venture company in which Barrick and Zijin Mining Group each own 50% will hold 49 %. BNL will remain the mine operator. At the end of the first ten year period, the PNG stakeholders will have the option to purchase BNL’s 49 % PNGEITI Head of Secretariat Lucas Alkan remarked that the open discussion throughout the negotiation process on the part of the mine operating lead, Government and landowners has culminated in this agreement signed happily by all parties. “We at the PNGEITI congratulate the Government and the project lead Barrick Gold and other stakeholders for reaching a consensus decision to reopen the mine. “Pogera has been an economic powerhouse for many years and people in the country have been waiting for the outcome. “We commend the Prime Minister, the President and CEO of Barrick Gold Mr. Mark Bristow for the leadership in ensuring that the negotiations were done in the transparent and open manner. “PNG Extractive Industries Transparency highly encourages such openness in the negotiating process for resources benefits and importantly the responsibilities that each stakeholder must take on to ensure smooth flow of proceeds. “We look forward to working with the Government and the project operator in the areas of transparency and accountability to help derive best value for all stakeholders. PNGEITI commitment to reporting on developments in the mining and petroleum space is becoming stronger with new reporting dimensions taking shape as we making progress in promoting transparency and accountability in the PNG mining and petroleum industry” Mr. Alkan said.
PNG Business News - June 14, 2021
BPNG Goes For Review
Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey has revealed the terms of reference for a review of the Bank of PNG, as well as the members of the review panel. Former Chief Secretary Robert Igara will lead the study, which was planned in the Supplementary Budget for 2020. Former central bank governor Sir Wilson Kamit and Australian professor Dr Stephen Howes are the two members. “These very eminent people, all of whom have detailed experience of the PNG financial system and reform, will be working to a term of reference approved recently by the NEC,” Ling-Stuckey said. “It is the first review of the central bank and the Central Banking Act 2002 since Sir Mekere Morauta’s financial system reforms when he was prime minister from 1999 to 2002. “Much has changed since then, and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, along with substantial technological advances, have made the need for a review even more urgent. “The aim is to modernise the bank and the legislation in line with international developments, and make it more responsive to prevailing circumstances while preserving its independence.” The study is scheduled to be finished in time for Parliament's November session. “An independent advisory group was also established by the late Sir Mekere when looking at the changes that led to the Central Banking Act 2000,” he said. “Igara, currently the University of Papua New Guinea chancellor, was chief secretary at the time, and Sir Wilson was the governor of the Central Bank. “Prof Howes, head of the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University, has long been involved in PNG research and advice and consultation, particularly in relation to national development.” Reference: The National (8 June 2021). “BPNG going for review”.