Ok Tedi Mining Limited's (OTML) head office is in the town of Tabubil in Western Province of Papua New Guinea. Tabubil is 800 air-kilometres from Port Moresby, and has a population of over 10,000 people. It is surrounded by mountainous terrain, which is covered by thick rainforest.
Tabubil was built for the Ok Tedi project and has become an important regional centre for government and local village communities. It has primary and secondary schools, churches, a hospital, sporting facilities, a local supermarket, open markets and a number of locally-owned businesses. These include the Hotel Cloudlands and a number of social clubs, including the nine-hole Tabubil Golf Club.
There are several landowner villages, such as Bultem and Finalbin along the highway between Tabubil and the mine, and a number of others connected by bush tracks located throughout the region. Producers from surrounding villages bring their produce to the market in Tabubil to sell. Transport in and out of Tabubil is mostly by air, and the town is connected to the Fly River port of Kiunga by 137 kilometres of graded unsealed road. Copper concentrate and supplies are shipped via Kiunga, which lies more than 800 kilometres upriver from the Gulf of Papua.
Kiunga is home to around 7000 people and is the seat of the Fly River Provincial Government. It is the northernmost port on the Fly River, and above Kiunga the river is not navigable to larger vessels. It has both private and public port facilities; the public port ships products from the local rubber industry, as well as fish and prawns from the local producers.
Kiunga's population is comprised of three major tribes, the Min people of the Star Mountains, the Awin and the Yongom tribes in Kiunga. The people speak their native mother tongue and Motu; however, with the influx of people from outside the province, the use of pidgin is widespread.
Shops and services in Kiunga include a number of supermarkets, a bank, general hospital, golf course and swimming pool. Schooling consists of a secondary school, primary and elementary schools, and a couple of privately-owned Academy Schools. Bird watching is one of the major tourist attractions in Kiunga and attracts tourists from abroad who come to see the different species of birds native to the Western Province.
There are 157 identified villages in the Western and Sandaun Provinces where community life has been directly or indirectly influenced by the presence of the mine. OTML is in regular contact with the people from these villages and conducts regular training programs about health, education and agricultural development there.
Villagers in Tabubil and Kiunga have electricity and reticulated water supplies, but most villages along the Ok Tedi and Fly River do not. Over the past 30 years, people have moved to the larger villages or relocated to areas along the Tabubil-Kiunga Highway, drawn by the availability of health care and schools or the opportunity to sell their goods at local markets.