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Ok Tedi immunity gone, with implications beyond BHP [Papua New Guinea]
Author: Sara Bice, Conversation , Published on: 23 October 2013
...[T]he Papua New Guinean [PNG] Parliament removed former mine operator BHP Billiton’s immunity from legal prosecution for environmental damages caused…BHP Billiton’s legal immunity arose through a 2001 agreement in which the company voluntarily divested its interests in Ok Tedi, placing its majority shareholding into a charitable trust, the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP). The Program held 63.4% ownership of the mine, with the PNG Government holding the remainder. This recent legislation transfers full ownership to the PNG state and removes that agreed immunity…In passing the legislation, PM O'Neill declared to Parliament that the immunity granted to BHP Billiton marked “a very bad decision…preventing its own people from exercising their right under law to sue for permanent damages done to their environment and their livelihood”...