19 Sep 2013

Court action possible after PNG government takes all of Ok Tedi

3:35 pm on 19 September 2013

The Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Programme has indicated it is considering taking the government to court over its move to take over full ownership of the Ok Tedi mine.

The government used its majority in parliament to pass legislation enabling it to cancel the SDP's 63% share in the lucrative Western Province mine.

The SDP is responsible for overseeing development programmes across PNG but with a special focus on Western Province for whom it administers a one pointt 4 billion US dollar long term fund from Ok Tedi dividends.

The chairman of the PNGSDP, the former prime minister, Sir Mekere Morauta, says it's unconstitutional of the government to expropriate assets from the people of PNG without payment .

The Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says he wants to review the way the SDP is managed, particularly with control of the long term fund.

But Sir Mekere suggests the government cannot take control of this fund as it is kept in Singapore.

A lengthy court battle looms.