PNG HIGHLANDS LAW AND ORDER COSTS ESCALATE AT PORGERA MINE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (September 26, 2002 - NBC/PINA Nius Online)---The Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea's Enga province has reported losing 225 million Kina (US$ 56,767,500) since the recent forced closure of some operations.

Porgera’s problem is due to the ceaseless vandalism of power pylons transmitting electricity generated from the Hides gas fields in the Southern Highlands.

Placer Niugini's managing director Evert Van Den Brand told NBC News the loss is escalating at the rate of 2.5 million Kina (US$ 630,750) daily.

Mr. Van Den Brand said the situation is worsening, due to the increasing law and order situation in the troubled Enga and Southern Highlands provinces.

He said that a total of seven power pylons have been downed by criminal elements, forcing the mine to scale down operations.

Porgera Joint Venture earlier said in a statement that benefits such as taxes, duties and royalties to the government and payments to landowners will be dramatically reduced if the power outrage is prolonged.

Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum chief executive Greg Anderson said the situation is becoming a concern for the country, placing the fragile economic situation under further stress.

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

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