Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) is assisting landowners and the communities in Western province ventured into agriculture businesses so that they can be able to sustain themselves after the Ok Tedi mine eventually closes in 10 years’ time.
OTML Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Musje Wera, said apart from other payments, the company annually pays compensation funds for the use of the land and for certain resources like water, but he said these funds should not be seen as the main source of income for the communities.
“I mentioned the compensation that we pay to our communities, but all that is going to end when Ok Tedi closes,” he said.
“What’s going to happen, where will they go to get this annual compensation from?”
It is for this very reason that the OTML boss said the company and its partners, including Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) and the Western provincial government, are looking at alternate income opportunities, focusing heavily on agriculture businesses.
“So, with the compensation that we pay K60million per annum in that range, it’s a once-a-year payment and if you divide that by the population, its nothing per head. So, by having this agriculture business, that’s income in their pockets every day. That’s what we are focusing on,” said Mr. Wera.
So far, the agriculture businesses that are already in existence are the Kaviananga Rice project.
“It’s more around food security but obviously there are opportunities to commercialize any excess products. It’s a K5.5million project and we have the Incentive Fund that is funding this project.”
The other project that is up and running is the Mount Fubilan Egg and Poultry project, which is owned by the mine villages.
‘So, they have the poultry farm happening in Tabubil that’s supplying the mess hall and obviously Tabubil township and Kiunga,” said the CEO.
Meanwhile, the other two agriculture business projects that are coming up are Fly Vanilla and Fly Cocoa.
“So, we have Fly Vanilla starting in North Fly. This is two hectors of high value vanilla project at a cost of K39 million funded by OTDF, IAI (Innovative Agro Industry), the Western provincial government and support from the community. This project will be launched at the end of this year.”
The other, the Fly Cocoa project, is a 25million dollar investment in the South Fly and it’s a partnership project between Sustainable Development Program (SDP), OTML and IAI. This project is set to commence in 2023.
Mr. Wera made all these know during the recent two days 2022 Community Affairs and Business Development Workshop held in Port Moresby.