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PNG debates transfer of Ok Tedi structure to govt ownership

Papua New Guinea’s Parliament has been debating legislation which would transfer ownership of the Ok Tedi mine and the PNG Sustainable Development Programme to the government.
This comes after the chairman of Ok Tedi and PNGSDP, the former Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta, accused the state of trying to steal from the people of Western Province.
He says it’s unconstitutional and unacceptable for the government to take over an asset worth around 700 million US dollars to Western Province and a 1.4 billion dollar long term fund from the people of the province.
But the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has rejected Sir Mekere’s claims, saying the government is not taking over the management of the asset but taking over the ownership of shares which he says belong to the state in the first place.
Mr O’Neill says the people of Western Province will benefit from the transferral of ownership.
The Ok Tedi Bill will repeal the indemnity given to the mine’s former owner, BHP Billiton, making it liable for environmental damage created by the mine in the Fly River.

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