Ok Tedi shares yet to be fully transferred: O’Neill

The 33.3 percent of shares from Ok Tedi Mine are yet to be fully transferred to the people of Western Province.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill revealed this when asked by Governor for Western, Taboi Awi Yoto, over their share of the 2017 dividends from Ok Tedi Mine.

The Governor said since the announcement of the share transfer and subsequent dividend announcement since production resumed, they have yet to receive a toea.

Governor Yoto asked the Prime Minister yesterday in Parliament over the status of the shares and dividend payment.

PM O’Neill said the shares had not been fully transferred due to outstanding stamp duty tax payments yet to be made by Mineral Resources Ok Tedi (MROT) and Mineral Resources Star Mountains (MRSM), the companies nominated by the people to hold the shares.

He said currently the funds are held in trust with the Mineral Resources Development Company.

It was also during the Prime Minister’s response that Moresby North-West MP, Sir Mekere Morauta, raised a point of order calling the Prime Minister a liar when the PM said Ok Tedi was making a loss pre-2016.

“OK Tedi Mine was a very rich mine and the previous owner, PNGSDP (PNG Sustainable Development Program), spent millions of dollars researching ways of continuing the mine. We were not going to close the mine and it was not loss making.”

O’Neill then responded with: “The good member for Moresby North-West and former chairman of PNGSDP is trying to protect his legacy, and we all understand that.

“There’s nothing wrong with trying to pretend that you are doing it in the best interests of the country and give indemnity to people who are doing enormous damage to our country, people and environment, and protecting foreigners like BHP.

“These are your legacy. That is the truth.”

Cedric Patjole