Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) is committed to ensuring the closure of the mine is done in accordance with the approved mine closure plan when the mine ceases production.
The plan which has been developed and updated since 1997 includes the decommissioning of mining infrastructure, the rehabilitation of operation sites, the ongoing monitoring of the affected environment the transfer of public infrastructure or services currently provided by OTML and the establishment of a fund to implement the plan.
The Company stated this during a Mine Closure Consultation Meeting that was held in Port Moresby from August 03rd – 05th 2022 which was organised by the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) and attended by landowners, government and OTML representatives.
The meeting was held to discuss OTML’s closure plan which is being reviewed and will be submitted to the MRA before the end of this year.
OTML is required under the Ok Tedi Act to review and submit an updated closure plan to the MRA every 3 years.
One of the key challenges is the transfer of public infrastructure and services which include the Kiunga power, water & sewerage systems, the Tabubil Hospital, the Tabubil township, and the maintenance of the Tabubil/Kiunga highway to third parties before mine closure but is not that simple since the operations of these facilities and assets are heavily subsidised by OTML.
Third parties have shown interest but have been reluctant to take on these assets since they are not viable without OTML’s subsidies. For example, each year the Company spends over K10 Million to subsidise power, water and sewerage services in Kiunga, a government township that has a population of over 20,000 people.
OTML continues to have discussions with potential partners including the Fly River Provincial Government to develop a practical model that will sustain these services post closure and OTML’s plan is to handover these services to the new owners while OTML is still operating.
It was also revealed at the meeting that the Company has set aside USD245 million for the sole purpose of implementing the closure plan when the Company ceases production.
The amount is reviewed every 3 years as part of the closure planning process and additional contributions to the closure fund will be made if the estimated closure costs exceeds the current amount.