Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) operations continue with the consent of the affected communities. An integrated compensation and development package is provided to these communities for their economic and social benefit. This is both a moral and a legal obligation that OTML must meet, as enforced by legislation passed by the National Government of Papua New Guinea in November 2001.
This agreement defines the cash compensation, investment and development payments that OTML will make to the 158 Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) villages affected by the operations.
The CMCA communities are grouped into nine geographic regions (Regional Map) and represent over 120,000 people. The nine CMCA regions extend from the mine to the South Fly and they are:
- Mine Villages (Mine Lease Area)
- North Ok Tedi
- Lower Ok Tedi
- Middle Fly
- Suki Fly Gogo
Each region is represented by four community members, including at least one woman. A total of 36 elected community members comprise the CMCA Working Group and attend the delegates meeting along with government representatives, OTML, churches, women and youth organisations and NGOs.
In 2007 during the mine benefits stream negotiations for communities affected by the OTML operations, each CMCA region was represented by one woman. The women were able to negotiate for 10% of the funds from the mine operations. These funds are to be dedicated to women and children programs.
This was a ground breaking achievement for women in PNG and reinforced women’s rights to representation at the highest levels of decision making on mine benefits for local communities. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) following the review specifically provided for recognition of women representatives on Village Planning Committee (VPC), the CMCA Association and the Board of the Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF).
The 10% translated into PGK 101 million (USD 45 million) and as expected, planning and disbursing the money into projects presented implementation challenges.
The CMCA’s women’s leadership engaged the PNG Department of National Planning, OTML, PNGSDP and the OTDF to assist. Together they articulated and prioritised the vision and need into nine respective CMCA Women and Children’s Action Plans for implementation. Drawdown of the funds and successful project implementation has been slower than anticipated due to the challenges on capacity deficits and knowledge around the process of the MOA, funding sources and responsibilities of different entities charged with project implementation.
In 2012, when the Mine Continuation Agreements came up for five year review, up to 30 women leaders participated in the negotiation process. Each region was represented by three women negotiators with six from Mine Village CMCA. During the negotiations, the women were able to increase the trust funding set-aside for women and children from 10% to 18.24%, depending on the region. Support for the increase came from the male leaders as they recognised that the women leaders were facilitating programmes that benefit the whole village and the families.
During the planning stage the women identified five high impact priority expenditure areas for project design and implementation as follows:
- capacity building and institutional strengthening
- infrastructure (feeder roads, water transport, electricity and communications)
- sustainable livelihoods and food security
- education and adult literacy; and
- health (water and sanitation)
The CMCA women leaders identified the main challenges as being ensuring mine continuation compensation funds are properly used for social and economic infrastructure projects such as roads, jetties, bridges, health centres, health outposts, classrooms, libraries, teachers, doctors and nurses houses. The view is that these are critical enablers for service delivery.
Other community needs include support for the growing cash crops such as rubber and eagle-wood and food production including vegetables, fish and poultry to support community livelihoods. The mine continuation funding was seen as a being a lever for change leading to a self-supporting sustainable future without OTML.
It was recognised by the women leaders that there are still further steps to improve implementation including:
- Capacity Development - institutional capacity and human resource development as the primary means to ensuring that women are able to manage their associations, take control and manage the Women and Children’s Fund separately from current trust arrangements
- Stakeholder collaboration - closer collaboration and partnership between all stakeholders to complement each other’s efforts in project delivery
- Empowering Village Planning Committees with project management skills - empowering VPCs to manage small village projects would ensure project ownership;
- Ownership and sustainability - the negotiators would like women’s leadership to be consulted to ensure ownership and sustainability; and
- Greater representation on the OTDF board.
During the mine continuation’s final five weeks of negotiations, the World Bank was invited by OTML to be an independent observer of the process and to document women’s aspirations and expectations from the process. The World Bank prepared a report on the process entitled, 'Negotiating with the PNG Mining Industry for Women’s Access to Resources and Voice: The Ok Tedi Mine Continuation Negotiations for Mine Benefit Packages', December 2013 can be found at www.worldbank.org/png.
In 2013, eight of the CMCA Women’s Associations were formally registered and election of women leaders completed and initial meetings conducted. Highlights in 2013 were the women earning first place at the Morobe Show for their display, the Middle Fly women funding their own agro-forestry eagle-wood project, the opening of learning and training centres at Haidawogam in North Fly and Deware in the South Fly.
Community Relations Department conducts bi-annual patrols in a year but conducted only one in 2015 due to the dry weather shutdown. The affected communities were advised of this change. Going forward CR is planning to conduct only one patrol annually.