REHABILITATION OF NAURU ESTIMATED TO TAKE AT LEAST 20 YEARS

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YAREN, Nauru (August 19, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The Chairman of the Nauru Rehabilitation Corporation says it will take another 20-25 years to rehabilitate the island, devastated from over 80 years of phosphate mining.

Lagumot Harris said the cost of rehabilitation could be as high as US$ 260 million. He said there is urgency in the project because land is needed for residential purposes. The population of Nauru, now estimated at 11,000, is projected to be 20-30,000 at the time of completion.

Parliament established the Nauru Rehabilitation Corporation in 1997 and last May the Cabinet appointed a Board to oversee the rehabilitation program.

In 1988, the Nauru Government mounted a case against countries responsible for the mining prior to Nauru's independence. Australia and New Zealand were found accountable.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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