Ok Tedi mine commences new phase
The life of the key Ok Tedi copper mine in PNG'S Western Province is to be extended for another 11 years. New Chief Operating Officer Musje Werror outlines the plan.
BAPNG: PNG’S Parliament passed legislation in November 2014, extending the life of the Mine by 11 years until 2025, what are the plans for the coming years? MW: We have been preparing for the mine life continuation since 2009, when we commenced the consultation process with the mine-associated communities in the Western Province.
During the consultation, we informed the communities that the mine will be smaller, generating less revenue and profits and because of this, the company will be implementing a number of initiatives to ensure the business remains viable.
Over the coming years, we will continue to review and validate the changes that have been implemented to ensure that we fully realise the benefits and savings from these initiatives.
We are also preparing for the future beyond 2025 and will continue to fund our exploration programs on our near-mine exploration leases. BAPNG: How much of the mine life extension is going to be drawn from the existing resources you currently have in pit, and how important is it to actually find new deposits? MW: The current life of mine plan is based on the current ore body. The next four-to-five years are going to be very lean times for the company and therefore we are conducting enhanced drilling programs within the current operating mine lease, in addition to accelerated exploration programs at our near-mine exploration leases, to provide additional ore. BAPNG: What are your hopes for finding more resources? MW: There is huge potential for this mine to continue well beyond 2025, given the high mineral prospects in the area. However, this is dependent on us finding acceptable waste solutions. BAPNG: Regarding your exploration programme specifically, where are you looking at the moment? MW: We are actively drilling a number of exploration leases owned 100% by OTML around our current Special Mining Lease and will undertake prefeasibility studies to determine if they are economically viable before we advance to the next stage. BAPNG: You’re a Papua New Guinean involved at the highest level in running a Png-owned mine. This is a first in Ok Tedi’s history. How significant do you feel this is? MW: I think it’s very significant, in the sense that Ok Tedi has been the leader in a number of leading edge initiatives and my appointment is one such example. It paves the way for other PNG resource companies to follow the same path in the near future.