Speaking at a workshop hosted by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum in Port Moresby last week, Ok Tedi managing director Musje Werror said the company had a community mine continuation agreement as the mine had just 10 years of life remaining.
"Ok Tedi will be the first big mine to close and there will be many lessons that will be drawn from Ok Tedi's experience, not only from the technical aspects of closure, but importantly from the social and sustainability aspects too," he said.
"We are developing our social and closure strategy which will address focus areas as identified in our Vision 2025.
"These include the transfer of public infrastructure assets, for example the maintenance of the Tabubil-Kiunga Highway to third parties before stopping production; creating alternative income generating opportunities for the CMCA communities; sustaining community programmes implemented by the Ok Tedi; increase national and local content in service contracts; and the nationalisation of leadership roles at Ok Tedi."
He said it would be challenging, given the mine-related dependencies built over time and the lack of commercial industries operating in Western.
Ok Tedi funds and operates the mining township of Tabubil which includes the Tabubil Hospital at an annual cost of about K150 million, maintains the Kiunga-Tabubil Highway at K30 million a year, and provides power, water and sewerage services in Kiunga at a cost of about K30 million a year.
"We need to identify new owners who can operate these services before the mine closure, so the services can be sustained," Werror said.