WWF CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE CLOSURE OF PNG'S OK-TEDI MINE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 23, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The World Wide Fund for Nature has called for the giant Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea to be closed immediately, saying the project is an environmental disaster.

The Australian company BHP holds 52-percent interest in the 15-year-old mine, with the rest owned by Ok Tedi Mining, Limited, 30-percent of which is held by the PNG government.

The mine pours millions of ton of tailings and other waste material into the Fly River each year, resulting in serious degradation of the river system.

Earlier this month, BHP released a report on the environmental damage caused by the mine. However, the World Wide Fund for Nature said the report is glaringly short of detail, such as the mine's impact on human health and the long-term livelihood of local residents.

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

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