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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, June 15) - The governor of Papua New Guinea's Western Province is threatening to shut down the giant Ok Tedi mine and take legal action against the government if efforts are not made to improve the standard of living of his people.

The mine was owned until two years ago by Australia's BHP Billiton but the company handed over its 52 per cent share to PNG Sustainable Development Program Limited.

Mining activities at the OK Tedi operation have caused massive environmental damage. Western Province Governor D Bob Danaya, says local people have had enough.

He said: "For the last 20 years they've taken everything out and there's nothing done for the people of the Western Province. That's why we have now lost our patience.

"We are giving them until the end of this month to start doing things. If they don't start doing things by the end of this month, then we'll be forced to close the mine.

"My provincial government is taking the company head on to make sure that justice is done."

June 16, 2004

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

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