The twelve landowner villages that received their share of payments from the K19.4million dividend proceeds from Mineral Resources Star Mountain (MRSM) Limited’s equity in Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML), were urged to put to good use the funds that they will continue to receive to sustain their future beyond the life of the mine.
Western Governor, Taboi Awi Yoto, told the recipients that OTML has less than 10 years before it winds down. The task of the provincial government now is to look after the people after the mine closes, but the people must also make further investments and go into business as well to sustain themselves going forward.
“We must find an alternative source of income generation once Ok Tedi mine closes,” said the governor.
The Western Provincial Government is doing its part to generate income going forward, which the governor said is through initiatives like building a road to Frieda River through Telefomin in West Sepik Province so to create an opportunity in times of negotiation for the Frieda mine to access existing facilities in Western Province to process the gold and copper, thus generating income for the province.
However, the provincial government can only do so much in taking these initiatives to generate income for the province.
“These resources will one day end, so I appeal to landowners to ensure the future of their children is secure.”
Governor Awi Yoto also applauded the landowners for partnering with the provincial government to invest in businesses, like the Hilton Hotel in Port Moresby which landowners are benefiting from. He said this is how things should go in terms of investments.
“I appeal to our leaders; I know you want to invest for the future because we don’t know when the mine will close. I am told that around 2027 or 2028, the mine will close. So, we got seven to eight years to prepare.”
Meanwhile, the cheques of the portions of the dividend payment were presented to the twelve Directors of the villages at a presentation ceremony at the Migalsim village in Ok Tedi on Monday.