BLACKOUT HITS PNG’S PORGERA MINE AS POWER PYLONS ARE FELLED

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BLACKOUT HITS PNG’S PORGERA MINE AS POWER PYLONS ARE FELLED

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 2, 2000 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---At least two pylons carrying power from the Hides gas field in the Southern Highlands to the Porgera gold mine in Enga province have been felled, sources said.

The incident, which occurred last Friday, resulted in the cutting off of the power supply to Porgera. The mine had to switch to its generators to power its operations, the sources said.

The sources said that without knowing who is responsible for the damage, it is difficult to say whether the incident is connected to the decision by the national government to withdraw the powers of the Southern Highlands provincial government.

The Porgera gold mine uses power generated from gas from the Hides fields and transported via the pylons, for its operations. As of yesterday, the mine was still using its diesel generators, the sources said.

Porgera resident mine manager Peter Neilens could not be reached for comment because he was on a field break, while managing director Evert Van den Brandt was out of the country.

Other officials who were reached declined to comment.

Communications to Hides has been disrupted, like that to the rest of Southern Highlands.

Sources familiar with the operations in the area said Porgera Joint Venture officials have flown to the spot where the felled pylons are located, but they could not say whether work has started to restore the supply line.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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