12 Mar 2014

PNG's O'Neill criticised for rejecting advice on Ok Tedi ownership

7:41 am on 12 March 2014

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has been criticised over his rejection of advice by an Eminent Persons' Group tasked with settling the issue over ownership of the Ok Tedi gold and copper mine.

The criticism comes from the PNG Sustainable Development Programme whose majority share in the lucrative Western Province mine was controversially taken over by the government last year.

The O'Neill government also took control of PNGSDP and its $US1.4 billion long term fund for Western Province before the SDP chairman, Sir Mekere Morauta, challenged the move in court action in Singapore.

The Prime Minister recently claimed that eminent persons group led by former Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu, has been unable to broker a solution to the dispute.

However Sir Mekere disputes this claim, urging the Prime Minister to disclose the advice and recommendations given to him by the EPG.

The SDP chairman claims the government expropriated Ok Tedi without compensation, and blames the move for the way social and economic development has all but ceased throughout Western Province.