PNG'S OK TEDI COPPER MINE MAY SHUT DOWN TEMPORARILY

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 29, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Papua New Guinea's giant Ok Tedi copper mine is likely to close down temporarily because of continuing, very serious drought conditions that prevent normal river shipments.

Ok Tedi Mining Limited Managing Director Roger Higgins said employees would not be laid off, but about 100 staff already are receiving less than normal pay.

Higgins said the mine probably will be shut down later this week and would not re-open until rain returns. Some 160,000 tons of copper concentrate now are stranded at the mine site because of the low river levels.

Higgins said the current drought in the Ok Tedi area is the worst to affect the mine since it opened in 1984.

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