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The greatest tragedy in the South Pacific

Ok Tedi accused of causing more damage

Tonight’s ABC’s 7.30 Report accuses the Ok Tedi gold and copper mine in PNG’s Western Province of causing more environmental damage to the jungle and river system.

“It’s going to be cultural genocide because the people’s land and river is like a supermarket,” said provincial governor Bob Danaya. “They get their fish from the river. The river provides water to keep the environment going. You damage the river, everything dies also,” he said.

But Ok Tedi board member and Australian environment guru, Dr Ross Garnaut, offered a different view. “It’s the most thorough and careful management of the environment that’s ever been undertaken by a mining company,” he told ABC reporter Steve Marshall.

In the latter 1990s, Ok Tedi’s former owner BHP agreed to pay local landowners more than $US100 million for similar environmental damage. Now locals are once again considering launching another massive compensation claim against the mine.


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