The history of the OTML dates back to 1963 when copper mineralisation was first noticed near the current mine site. Several years later in 1969 the Mt. Fubilan Copper Gold deposit was discovered with feasibility studies and proposals thereafter resulting in Ok Tedi Mining Limited incorporated as an entity to operate the project in 1981.

BHP exited the company in 2002, vesting its interest to Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) and almost a decade later OTML becomes a fully owned Papua New Guinea company when Inmet Mining shares were bought off by OTML.

In 2013 OTML becomes a state owned enterprise (SOE) when the Government of PNG increased its direct ownership to 87.8 percent.

OTML has a proud history of contributing to the economy of PNG and Western Province.

Historical Timeline


Company Operations Started

In March 2016, the Company operations restarted after the temporary shutdown due to the 2015 dry weather event.

Company Suspended Operations Temporarily

In August 2015, the Company temporarily suspended its operations due to severe dry weather. A skeleton crew provided care, maintenance and security during the 7-month-long dry weather stand down.

Community Relation Department published Community Relations Manual

The OTML Community Relations Department published its first ever Community Relations Manual which is a practical guide to CR programs, methods and activities used by OTML.

OTML becomes a state owned enterprise

With the passing of the Mining (Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement) Act 2013 by Parliament, the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP) shares were cancelled and new shares issued by the State. Mineral Resources Ok Tedi No.2 (MROT NO.2) Limited had 12.2% shares and the State had 87.8% shares.

On September 19, 2013 PNGSDP shares were cancelled.

OTML & Communities agree to the proposed Mine Life Extension

The OTML Board and mine associated communities agree to the proposed Mine Life Extension

Divine Word University takes over the management of the Tabubil Hospital

Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) and PNGSDP sign MOU for delivery of projects and services to the people of the CMCA regions.

OTML becomes owned fully by Papua New Guinea interests

February: OTML becomes a company owned fully by Papua New Guinea interests.

This followed the exit of Inmet Mining Corporation as a shareholder. Inmet Mining's 18 per cent share was bought by OTML for US$335 million and cancelled leaving OTML as a company owned today by PNGSDPL with 63.4 per cent and the State of PNG with 36.6 per cent.

Mine life extended to 2013

Community Mine Continuation Agreements (CMCA) review produces revised agreement between OTML and 145 villages, and extends mine life to 2013.

OTML achieves record before-tax profit of K2.9 billion.

Mine waste tailing project approved

OTML celebrates 25 years of the Ok Tedi project.

The State approves the Mine Waste Tailings Project, whereby sulphur content in tailings will be significantly reduced with the safe storage of the resultant pyrite concentrate at Bige.

OTML achieves record before-tax profit of K2.7 billion.

Chemical impacts from increasing copper detected in the river system

OTML environmental monitoring detects chemical impacts from increasing copper in the river system.

OTML informs PNG Government and the affected communities of new environmental data, and begins to investigate options for mitigating predicted ARD from future sulphur in tailings.

Court claims withdrawn by plaintiffs

Twenty years of production

All claims, including the PNG constitutional references, are withdrawn by the plaintiffs in both Australia and Papua New Guinea courts.

BHP completes its withdrawal from the business

BHP completes its withdrawal from the business, with equity transferred to PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd.

Constitutional references filed in the PNG courts opposing BHP Billiton's departure from the project and the constitutionality of the Ninth Supplemental Agreement.

The State approves the employment of a dredge, through to the end of mining, in the lower Ok Tedi region in conjunction with social and environmental monitoring programs.

Community consultation consent given for mine to continue

Community consultation process moves to consent being given for the mine to continue, in the form of Community Mine Continuation Agreements (CMCAs) with landowners throughout those parts of the Western Province affected by the mining operations.

Mining (Ok Tedi Mine Continuation (Ninth Supplemental) Agreement) Act 2001 passed by the PNG Parliament, setting out the basis for mine continuation and BHP's withdrawal.

OTML's Environmental Regime adopted by the PNG State as part of the Ninth Supplemental Agreement.

BHP indicates intention to exit & GoPNG announces community consultation

State asks World Bank to review the findings of the MWMP.

Writs filed in the Victorian Supreme Court claiming damages and breach of contract on 1996 settlement agreement.

BHP indicates to shareholders it intends to exit the Ok Tedi mine.

Government of Papua New Guinea announces community consultation process over the future of the mine given its environmental impacts.

Mine Waste Management Risk Assessment published

Results of Mine Waste Management Project (MWMP) Risk Assessment published in August.

State directs continuation of dredging trial.

Dredging trial begins after El Nino draught ends

Operations resume in March after El Nino draught ends.

The dredging trial begins following return of the rains and higher river levels.

State acquires additional ten per cent shareholding to be held for the benefits of the people of Western Province. Eight per cent is contributed by BHP and two per cent by Inmet. Payment by the State is to be effected from future dividends on the ten per cent acquired. State agrees to hold 2.5 per cent of its total equity (now 30 per cent) for the benefit of the mine area landowners and 12.5 per cent for the benefit of the people of the Western Province.

Dredging trial approval given by GoPNG

Government of Papua New Guinea approves dredging trial in the lower Ok Tedi area.

El Nino drought forces mill shut down in August. About 65 per cent of the staff go on dry weather leave.

First general compensation payments made

First general compensation payments made.

Mine Waste Management Project (MWMP) established to investigate options for mitigating environmental impacts.

Heads of Agreement for special benefits signed between OTML, the State and the lower Ok Tedi communities.

Litigation settled out-of-court for K150 million in payments to landowners over the remaining life of the mine, and the commitment to the implementation of a feasibility tailings option which is approved by the State.

General compensation scheme introduced

Restated Eighth Supplemental Agreement sets up general compensation scheme.

First company tax paid.

Land owners sue OTML and BHP

Ten years of production.

Ok Tedi/Fly River landowners sue OTML and BHP in the Victorian Supreme Court for environmental damages.

OTML ownership restructure

OTML ownership restructure announced. BHP's shareholding moves from 30 per cent to 60 per cent, State of Papua New Guinea 20 per cent, and Inmet Mining Corporation 20 per cent.

First dividend paid

The first dividend payout is made.

GoPNG places sedimentation level restrictions

Government sets maximum sediment level that the mine can place in the Fly River. OTML required to monitor sediment effects.

Copper production begins

Copper production begins.

Sixth Supplemental Agreement environmental studies begin looking at the effects of the sediment on waters and fish of the Fly River.

Gold production begins

Massive landslides destroy the foundations of the Ok Ma tailings dam during construction. Mine tailings can no longer be stored.

Gold production begins, with an interim tailings system.

OTML incorporated to operate the project

February: Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) incorporated to develop and operate the project. Mining lease is granted to OTML.

April: Construction begins and proves to be a major engineering feat, given the remote location of the site and the unstable terrain.

The development program takes almost eight years and costs US$1.4 billion.

Project proposal approved and act passed

February: The National Government approves the consortium's proposals for the project and exercises its option to take up a 20 per cent shareholding.

June: Mine (Ok Tedi Supplemental Agreement) Act passed.

Feasibility study presented to GoPNG

A ten-volume feasibility study is prepared and presented to the Government of Papua New Guinea.

BHP enters into negotiations with GoPNG

Australian company, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP), enters into negotiations with the PNG Government. In the same year, the government passes the Mining (Ok Tedi Agreement) Act and an international consortium is formed to assess the feasibility of developing a gold and copper mining operation.

Kennecott withdraws from the project.

Kennecott withdraws from the project.
1969 - 1971

Drilling program to establish ore reserves carried out

Diamond-drilling program to establish ore reserves is carried out. Results are favourable. Kennecott and the Government of Papua New Guinea, however, cannot reach an agreement about how to develop a mining project.

Kennecott Geologists issue prospecting authority over the area.

Geologists from the Kennecott Copper Corporation issue a prospecting authority over the area. Within a year, the company confirms that a deposit exists at Mt Fubilan.

Mt. Fubilan copper-gold deposit discovered

Mt. Fubilan copper-gold deposit discovered at the current project site.

Patrol makes first contact with Min people of Star Mountains.

Government Patrol makes first contact with the Min people of Star Mountains. Leaders of the patrol notices signs of copper mineralisation near the present mine site and collects samples for analysis.