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20 Sep 2013

Liam Fox, ABC News (Australia)

PNG government takes control of Ok Tedi mine, repeals laws protecting BHP from legal action over pollution

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Papua New Guinea's government has rammed legislation through parliament giving it complete ownership of the controversial Ok Tedi mine…In a deal with the then government in 2001, BHP divested its majority share of the mine to a charitable trust called the PNG Sustainable Development Program, and in return was granted legal immunity…The bill cancels PNGSDP's shares and issues new shares to the state, giving it complete ownership…In a separate bill, parliament passed legislation making the BHP Billiton now liable for environmental damage caused by the Ok Tedi mine…Parliament's move to repeal BHP's legal immunity from prosecution has received a mixed response…BHP Billiton says it is confident it can not be sued by Papua New Guinea for environmental damage caused by a mine it used to own...[and that] the PNG Government's decision to remove [its] legal immunity shows a lack of good faith and makes the country a more risky place to invest.