Client name: PNG Department of Environment and Conservation

Duration: October 2013 - February 2015

Location: Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Nearly 40 years of experience in PNG and a positive working relationship meant we delivered our project in a very short time to support government decision making.

Situation

The Ok Tedi Mine has a contentious history, with past operations causing major and ongoing environmental and social impacts.

Unlike other mines in Papua New Guinea, the Ok Tedi Mine is not regulated by the Environment Act 2000. Instead, Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) is regulated by its own act of parliament.

Given the history of the mine, the PNG’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC, now CEPA) required a competent and credible independent peer review of the proposed mine life extension.

In 2013, OTML submitted plans to extend the life of the Ok Tedi Mine by 10 years. Given the history of the mine, the PNG’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC, now CEPA) required a competent and credible independent peer review of the proposed mine life extension. The review needed to assess the adequacy of the assessment of potential environmental impacts. This included a review of numerous historical, technical documents, and the provision of a framework for future regulation of the mine within four months –  a challenging deadline to complete this technical exercise. 

We were engaged by the DEC as the independent peer reviewer.

Solution

Coffey formed a team of 12 senior people, including seven leading independent international experts. Our independent peer review involved detailed assessment covering a range of environmental aspects, the coordination of two site visits, four stakeholder workshops and regulatory advice to DEC. 

Following completion of the independent peer review, DEC again engaged Coffey to prepare technical specifications for the new Ok Tedi Environmental Management Act. We proposed conditions for the ongoing environmental management, monitoring and compliance of the Ok Tedi Mine.

We developed these conditions by collaborating with our team of experts and conducting a workshop with DEC and OTML’s technical experts to agree on practical, feasible and achievable conditions for the ongoing operation of the mine. 

Result

The project successfully fulfilled DEC’s needs by producing a high quality review report to support government decision-making in a short timeframe and, subsequently, producing defensible conditions and requirements for the ongoing environmental management, monitoring and compliance of the Ok Tedi Mine.

The inclusive nature of the review and positive working relationship with DEC, OTML and OTML’s technical experts meant that the review progressed smoothly, uncertainties were resolved and, ultimately, a set of conditions were developed and agreed with DEC and OTML.

Our review report and advice was delivered on time and under budget.