PNG'S PORGERA GOLD MINE RESUMES OPERATIONS; OK TEDI STILL CLOSED

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 26, 1997 - PACNEWS)--- Papua New Guinea's Porgera gold mine has returned to full milling capacity after being closed for almost a month due to the prolonged drought in the PNG highlands.

The mine's operator, Placer Dome, Incorporated, says it expects Porgera's 1997 output to be about 90 percent of its original target.

Milling operations at the mine were suspended October 28 after dry conditions reduced water reserves to critical levels. Recent rains now have replenished the water supply at Porgera's main water source, the Waile Creek dam, allowing mine operations to resume progressively.

Drought conditions continue to paralyze work at the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine, however. A spokesman for BHP Company, Limited said mining and milling at Ok Tedi were suspended in August after the Fly River system dried up, preventing supplies from reaching the mine.

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