MINE WATER DID NOT KILL PEOPLE: PNG’S PORGERA

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 17, 1997 - PACNEWS)--- The Porgera Joint Venture company in Papua New Guinea has denied reports that 674 people have died as a result of drinking contaminated water caused by the mine's operations.

Managing Director Russell Barwick says the claims, though serious, cannot be proven because the people do not use the mine area’s Strickland River for drinking and cooking, but water from the river's tributaries.

He says PJV representatives recently visited the drought-affected people in the Liagaip and Kopiago areas where, through assistance from AusAid, they distributed 5,000 vegetable seeds for planting. Barwick says there was no evidence of anyone dying from unknown causes in those areas.

He says the company also will be visiting the Lake Murray-Kopiago area soon to distribute medicine to the drought-affected people there.

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