WORKERS WALK OFF JOBS AT PNG'S LIHIR MINE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 22, 1998 - The National/Map)--- Papua New Guinea’s new gold project on Lihir island, New Ireland province, experienced its first industrial strike this week as an estimated 200 mine pit workers walked of their jobs demanding better terms and conditions of employment, the National newspaper reports.

The miners, mostly pit workers employed by mining contractor Thiess Roche, walked off their jobs Monday demanding they should be paid risk allowances.

The miners claim they work in extremely hot and dusty conditions and breathe foul smelling fumes from the area's hot springs, all of which they consider to be potential health hazards.

One striker said public servants and expatriate employees working and living in Lihir already are paid risk allowances.

The workers have agreed to continue the strike until their employer and the Lihir Management Company agree to their demands.

Lihir Management Company Managing Director John O’Reilly said despite the strike gold production at the mine is not affected because his employees are not involved. The striking workers are employed by its contractor.

Despite the work stoppage, Lihir’s share price rose four points to $AUS 2.35 ($US 1.57) on the Australian stock Exchange on Tuesday

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