In August 1999 Ok Tedi Mining Ltd. (OTML), a subsidiary of BHP, announced that the environmental impacts of the Ok Tedi mine on the surrounding environment "would be far greater and more damaging than predicted." The company also announced that none of the solutions it has studied, to date, would adequately solve the mine's environmental problems.

BHP also admitted that, "From BHP's perspective as a shareholder, the easy conclusion to reach, with the benefit of these reports and 20/20 hindsight, is that the mine is not compatible with our environmental values and the company should never have become involved." 

Read more about the BHP statement

For an analysis of the history of the mine in the context of state-corporate crime see The killing of the Fly: State-corporate victimization in Papua New Guinea by Ainsley Harper and Mark Israel [pdf download below].

For a case study of the Riverine Tailings Disposal at Ok Tedi see the IIED paper Mining for the Future [pdf download below]

 

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Killing of the Fly.pdf196.45 KB
Ok Tedi Riverine Disposal Case Study.pdf564.46 KB

Controversy

Environment

Since 1975, the Ok Tedi mining project in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has caused extensive damage to the environment by discharging untreated cyanide, copper,
cadmium and substantial quantities of sediment into the surrounding river systems. 

Campaign poster protesting environmental damage by BHPCampaign poster protesting environmental damage by BHPAs a result of this pollution the lives of thousands of villagers – people who rely on the river and adjacent lands for their subsistence – have been severely affected. A writ lodged in 1994 in the Supreme Court of Victoria by a group of these villagers alleged that Australia’s largest mining company, Broken Hill Pty Co Ltd (BHP) was responsible for this pollution as the largest partner in and sole manager of the mine. The case was settled out of court in 1996, with BHP paying compensation and legal costs. 

The PNG government contributed to the damage to the Fly River system by deliberately allowing the BHP-led consortium to evade the State’s environmental laws.

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News

OK Tedi Will stay in PNG, Says PM

Source: 
The Australian

Pundari: Ok Tedi Mine a Curse

Source: 
The National

OTML Supports Apprentice Training

Source: 
The National

Sode: PNGSDP is Run by the People of PNG

Source: 
The National

PM Hailed For Stance on Ok Tedi Mine-life extension

Source: 
Post Courier

BHP: No link with OTML, PNGSDP

Source: 
The National

Ok Tedi Villagers Back PM

Source: 
The National

PM Cold on Ok Tedi Issue

Source: 
The National

Western Villages For OTML to Run Until 2025

So...According to the CEO of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd, Nigel Parker, more than 100,000 villagers from the mine site down to the coastal areas of Western Province are in favour of the mine continuing its activities until the year 2025!

Wonder what the incentive for those further away from the mine site is? Better health services via OTML? Maybe efficient transport and logistical support for local businesses? Or perhaps scholarships and other educational subsidies?

Read the rest of this entry »

Source: 
The National

PNG PM, BHP and Garnaut at Loggerheads Again

Source: 
Radio Australia