EMPLOYEES returning to the Ok Tedi Mine in March have been required to adapt to a range of changes to working conditions, including the introduction of fly in – fly out (FIFO) work rosters.

Ok Tedi Mining (OTML) announced plans to cut it workforce by 10 per cent late last year, and outsourcing some roles to third parties – meaning that there would be no further casual labour roles with the company.

All returning employees were advised of their roster, restart date and travel bookings by 22 February.

Employees not recalled back to work by 1 March will continue to receive the stand down allowance until they restart work, the company said.

Going forward, OTML will operate a reduced fleet of aircraft and will fly to designated hubs of Port Moresby, Mt Hagen, Goroka, Lae, Rabaul and Madang.

OTML said it will arrange flights to the employee’s nearest provincial centre on commercial airlines for those who are not living near one of these hubs.

With the company transitioning to FIFO operations, most workers will be accommodated on-site in camps and have their own permanent room which will be allocated when they return to work.

For employees whose point of hire is Tabubil, OTML will provide housing in Tabubil offered as a rental which is no more than the housing allowance.

“This will allow employees on short cycle rosters the benefit of the scheduled rostered days off without undue loss to travel,” Ok Tedi said.

While OTML will continue to operate town services including garbage collection, sewerage and road maintenance, as well as supporting the local hospital, the Tabubil International School would not be re-opened, having closed during the dry weather stand down.

Twin Otters will continue to service local airstrips for the first several roster cycles to enable employees to arrange to move to rental housing in Tabubil or make their own arrangements, the company added.

In February, OTML commenced discussions on the restart with contractors, suppliers, local land owners, communities, Tabubil and Kiunga trading housing and government agencies.

“As the return to operations will be progressive, re-engagement of contractors will generally also be progressive,” the company said.

“This year will be a very challenging year to recover from the effects and costs of a prolonged suspension of operations, and weather remains a risk,” he said.

Mr Graham thanked employees and contractors for their loyalty and understanding.