AUSTRALIAN AGENCY ACCUSED OF FUNDING OK TEDI MINE DISASTER

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MELBOURNE, Australia (November 30, 1999 – Radio Australia)---Australia's export credit agency has been accused of funding the Ok Tedi mine environmental disaster in Papua New Guinea.

The groups Aid-Watch and the Mineral Policy Institute have released a paper condemning the Australian Government's Export Finance and Insurance Corporation - EFIC.

Radio Australia correspondent Graeme Dobell reports that the study says EFIC has no social or environmental standards for foreign projects.

"The paper says EFIC loaned 242 million of the 850 million U.S. dollars used to start the OK Tedi mine.

"It argues that the Government's export credit corporation must be accountable for the death of forests and river systems caused by tailings from the mine.

"One of three Senators launching the report, the Green’s Bob Brown, said, ‘Information on OK Tedi I finding horrifying. I didn't know OK Tedi wasn't just a BHP project; it was an Australian taxpayer-funded project.’

"Graeme Dobell, Radio Australia."

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

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