The Sepe/ Auti village in the South Fly of Western Province is the final village in the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) corridor to sign the CMCA Extension Agreement (CMCAEA).

The signing took place in mid-January at the Sepe /Auti village in the South Fly of Western Province and was witnessed by the Sepe/ Auti community, officers of Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) and Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF). This brings the total number of villages under the CMCA mine extension agreement to 158.

OTML Deputy chief executive officer and general manager Employee and External Relations, Musje Werror told the Sepe/ Auti community that by signing the agreement they want to put behind the past and focus on the future.

“Today’s signing marks a new beginning for the people of Sepe/ Auti and we are all delighted to welcome them to be part of the CMCA community. This agreement is powerful; it signifies the communities desire to be part of the CMCA family and to participate in development opportunities in the region,” Mr Werror said.

He said while Sepe/ Auti village was part of the initial CMCA consultations in early 2001, they and U’uwo village did not sign the CMCA Agreements for their own reasons.

OTML and the Government respected their position. U’uwo village eventually signed the CMCA Agreement on the 9th of March 2011, followed by the CMCA Extension Agreement on 29th November 2012.

He added that the community must work with OTML, OTDF and the Provincial Government if they wanted to see real change in the village.

“To achieve sustainable development is not easy but it can and will happen if we all work together and I encourage the people of Sepe/Auti through your leaders to work closely with OTML, OTDF and the Fly River Provincial Government (FRPG). There will be disagreements along the way but we must never lose focus of our dream and our desire to develop our village, our Region and our Province,” Mr Werror said.

“This is what the CMCA spirit is all about and I commend the leaders and the Sepe/Auti community for making this important decision to sign the agreement,” he added.Sepe/ Auti Women’s Representative, Tuani Koda said; “As a Women’s representative and a leader in gender issues in this community I have a heart cry for my women who have missed out very badly in receiving government services.”

“At this very time we should not blame OTML for not assisting us under the CMCA program, because we did not sign the agreement. Therefore I am very happy to sign now and this will make it possible for me to receive these services in full,” she said.

After signing of the agreement, OTML presented a 60hp and 40hp outboard motors and sporting equipment to the village.

Two, 23-feet dinghies will be delivered at a later date. The total value of the items was K70,000. Mr Werror encouraged the communities to take care of the equipment and to ensure they serve the needs of the community.