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Despite our best intentions: Papua New Guinea’s Ok Tedi mine and the limits of expert advice


  • Stephen Zorn

    (Minerals and Energy, Government of Papua New Guinea)


Rarely has a developing-country government been better prepared to negotiate with foreign investors than was the new government in Papua New Guinea in the mid-1970s as it prepared top deal with the huge Bougainville and Ok Tedi mining projects. Advised by an array of experts from around the world, including Marian Radetzki, we attained terms that were in many ways a model. But, as subsequent events showed, not everything can be anticipated, even with the best advice. While the Ok Tedi mine has largely been an economic success, its environmental and social effects have not been so benevolent. This article reviews those economic, environmental, and social effects and considers the impact that expert advice can have.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Zorn, 2018. "Despite our best intentions: Papua New Guinea’s Ok Tedi mine and the limits of expert advice," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 31(1), pages 13-21, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:31:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s13563-017-0111-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-017-0111-1

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    Cited by:

    1. Patrice Christmann, 2021. "Mineral Resource Governance in the 21st Century and a sustainable European Union," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 34(2), pages 187-208, July.


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