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Chemical spill from an old mine suspected

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 1, 2009) – Reports received by the Milne Bay government indicate that there have been sightings of dead marine life, especially fish, and bleaching of corals around the waters of Bwagaoia station on Misima Island, Milne Bay province, this week.

Milne Bay Deputy Governor Gordon Wesley said he received a telephone call from Misima yesterday advising him of dead fish found on the shores of Bwagaoia Station.

Mr Wesley suspected that the dead fish and the bleaching of the corals might be caused by a chemical spill from the old Misima mine.

The PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) CASA aircraft that was scheduled to transport the PNGDF hierarchy from their retreat in Alotau has been directed by Defence Force commander Cmdr Peter Ilau to transport provincial government environmental experts and defence personnel to Misima Island tomorrow morning to investigate and assess any damages.

Cmdr Ilau paid a courtesy call on Milne Bay Governor John Luke Crittin, Mr Wesley and provincial administrator Henry Bailasa yesterday morning and discussed means of upgrading the Misima highway to help the locals have better road access to bring their produce to the markets.

"It is very hard for the locals to bring their produce like copra and others to the markets because the road is so bad that vehicles are no longer using the highway," Mr Wesley said.

Meanwhile, the military executive’s retreat entered its second day yesterday in Alotau.

The defence hierarchy is meeting to formulate strategies for the military’s Vision 2030 that will coincide with the National Government’s Vision 2050 to have a stable, prosperous and peaceful nation.

The retreat ends today.

Cmdr Ilau, in an interview with NBC Radio Milne Bay, said the aim of the retreat was to visualise the PNGDF in 2030.

"From our normal military business, we now want to formulate strategies to coincide with the National Government’s Vision 2050, by having the best small national defence force in the world by 2030," Cmdr Ilau said.

The National:


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