Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) has denied agreeing to pay additional compensation to landowners for the use of water from Dablan Creek following a demand by a group of landowners as reported in last week’s Post Courier.

There is no basis for OTML to entertain this demand.

OTML has met all its obligations to pay compensation for the extraction of water from Dablan creek under the Ok Tedi Act, the Mining Act, the Ok Tedi Environment Management Act (OTEMA) (which has yet to be gazetted) and the current benefit agreements signed by OTML, the landowners and the State.

This position is consistent with the advice given to the landowners by the Conservation & Environment Protection Authority and the Office of the State Solicitor.

A Company spokesperson said, “OTML will not pay compensation outside the existing agreements since it will expose the company to other unjustifiable demands and would be unfair to the other landowners who honour these agreements.”

“The landowners have not been denied any compensation. In fact, they have received over K54 million in compensation from OTML through the various benefit packages for the use of their land and extraction of water and they will continue to receive these benefits while the Mine continues to operate. This is in addition to other benefits such as dividends and contracts with OTML”, the spokesperson said.

The landowners are claiming that OTML only applied for an Environment Permit after the matter was raised in court by the landowners.

“This is not true. The landowners have been misled since it was the Government’s directive for OTML to have its own Environment Act and Permit that captures the current Ok Tedi Environment Regime of 2001. The OTEMA and Permit have no provisions for payment of compensation for the extraction of water and therefore there is no basis for additional compensation to be paid.”

The landowners have challenged this matter in Court 5 times over the last 11 years without success but can still do so if they have new evidence to present.

Meanwhile, and following recent actions by the group to divert water and disrupt operations, OTML has identified alternate reliable water sources that will significantly reduce reliance on the current extraction site.