Ok Tedi Mining Ltd. (OTML) has awarded to Dredging International, member of the DEME Group, a five and a half-year extension of its ongoing contract to remove mine-derived sediments from the lower Ok Tedi river system, situated in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea.
The value of this contract is $220 million (approximately EUR 194 million).
OTML is a major producer of copper concentrate and operates an open-pit copper, gold and silver mine at Mount Fubilan, in the Star Mountains of Papua New Guinea’s Western Province, approximately 24 km from the border of West Papua, Indonesia.
The main objectives of the Lower Ok Tedi Dredging Project are to minimize over-bank flooding by reducing riverbed levels and alleviating floodplain dieback downstream of Bige along the Ok Tedi and Fly River through dredging a section of the river at Bige, approximately 100 km downstream from the mine. This remediation-dredging program has been incorporated into OTML’s operations since 1998 and led to successful environmental results.
OTML has continuously engaged the CSD ‘Cap Martin’ through Dredging International’s local entity Dredeco PNG since the start of the program in 1998, to operate and capture the possibly polluted sand-sized sediments flowing down the river, and thereafter store them in engineered stockpiles on the East and West riverbanks of the Ok Tedi river at Bige. To date, over 170 million m3 of sediments have been removed and pumped in stockpiles up to 30 m high, situated up to 6 km from the dredging area.
From the time dredging operations commenced, there has been a remarkable improvement in the environmentally sensitive river system downstream of Bige, with reduced die-back and establishment of secondary growth along the river banks.
OTML has recently received approval to continue mining operations. The continuation of the mine’s operations was agreed to and supported by all stakeholders and local communities.
As a result of OTML’s decision to extend the mine life, and due to the successful implementation of the joint remediation dredging program since 1998, OTML has awarded Dredging International this continuation dredging contract to remove sediment from the river system for another five and a half years.
In parallel, the environmental team has started re-vegetation on completed sections of the stockpiles. The aim is to stabilize the outer slopes and crown through sustainable vegetation cover, and to establish a primary vegetation cover through which final canopy tree species can be planted.