MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Papua New Guinea landslide buries ten alive

Published by MAC on 2008-12-09

"No more than ten dead" - that was an official Australian announcement, made last weekend after a devastating landslide hit a mining exploration camp in Papua New Guinea, managed by Barrick Gold, following torrential rains.

Initial fears that up to forty people died now seem to be discounted.

However, the disaster reflects appallingly on the lack of safety standards observed by the world's biggest gold mining company.


Australian Dog Team Searches PNG Landslide Site

All the local people affected by the landslide in Eastern Highlands province in the vicinity of a gold mine had been accounted for. Australian Dog Team Searches PNG Landslide Site

Reuters

7th December 2008

An Australian search and rescue team sent to a mining exploration camp in Papua New Guinea hit by a devastating landslide had found no more dead bodies after the initial 10 dead, an Australian government aid official said on Sunday.

All the local people affected by the landslide in Eastern Highlands province in the vicinity of a gold mine had been accounted for, the official, who did not want to be named, told Reuters.

Dozens of people were earlier feared to have been trapped after the landslide struck on Thursday.

The Australia Broadcasting Corporation quoted an AusAid spokesman a saying that headcounts done in nearby villages had indicated everyone was accounted for.

The Australian emergency team of around five, including dog handlers with search dogs, was sent in on Saturday at the request of Papua New Guinea.

"The search and rescue dogs did a grid search and were not able to find any more people," the official said. "So they think the site has now been cleared.

The landslide happened at the Kora exploration camp of the Kainantu gold mine site, east of Goroka, the capital of Eastern Highlands province.

The site is operated by Canadian-based mining giant Barrick Gold.Corporation.


Up to 40 missing in PNG landslide

Reuters

5th December 2008

SYDNEY - As many as 40 people are missing in Papua New Guinea after a landslide hit in the vicinity of a gold mine, the Australia Broadcasting Corp said on Saturday, and an Australian rescue team was on its way to help in the search.

The bodies of 10 dead, including those of three children, had been recovered from the site already, an Australian government official who declined to be identified said.

The Australian rescue team of around five including dog handlers was sent at the request of the PNG government, a spokesman for Emergency Management Australia said by telephone. "We still don't really know how many are buried. They think that the village itself had about that many people," Alastair Wilson said, referring to the figure of 40 missing.

The landslide happened on Thursday at the Kora exploration camp of the Kainantu gold mine site, east of Goroka, the capital of Eastern Highlands province.

The rescue service spokesman told Reuters the landslide was not actually at the mine itself but some distance away.

The mine is operated by Canadian-based mining giant Barrick Gold.

The rescue team was expected to fly up to the site on arrival in Papua New Guinea and be there later on Saturday.

(Editing by Jerry Norton)


Barrick Says 10 People Killed in Papua New Guinea Mine Mudslide

By Jesse Riseborough

Bloomberg

6 December 2008 -- Barrick Gold Corp., the world's biggest gold producer, said 10 people died after a mudslide swept over an exploration camp near its Kainantu mine in Papua New Guinea on Dec. 4.

"It was basically a mudslide caused by extreme rainfall at a remote exploration accommodation camp," Celina Watt, a spokeswoman for the Toronto-based company, said today by telephone from Perth, Australia.

The fatalities included five local villagers and five employees of Barrick, she said.

Barrick acquired the Kainantu gold mine and exploration assets for $141.5 million last year from Highlands Pacific Ltd. About 40 people are still missing after the mudslide, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported today on its Web site.

"Most of the debris has now been cleared from the impact area," Joc O'Rourke, president of Barrick's Australia Pacific unit, said today in an e-mailed statement. "All our people have been accounted for, but search efforts will continue today with assistance from the PNG government's disaster response office and a search and rescue team from Australia."

Australia is sending two handlers and sniffer dogs, two search and rescue workers, a paramedic and a representative of Australian Emergency Services to the site today following a request from the Papua New Guinea government, Watt said.

Kainantu is located 180 kilometers (112 miles) west of the port city of Lae in the Eastern Highlands province in Papua New Guinea. The mudslide hit the Kora exploration camp at 5:45 p.m. local time on Dec. 4, the statement said.


Deslave en Papúa Nueva Guinea deja hasta 40 desaparecidos

6 de diciembre, 2008

SIDNEY (Reuters) - Hasta 40 personas están desaparecidas en Papúa Nueva Guinea luego de que ocurrió un deslave en las cercanías de una mina de oro, informó el sábado la corporación de radiodifusión australiana, en tanto un equipo australiano se dirige al lugar a ayudar con la búsqueda.

Los cuerpos de 10 personas, incluidos tres niños, ya han sido recuperados desde el lugar, dijo un funcionario del Gobierno australiano que rehusó ser identificado.

El equipo de rescate australiano está compuesto por cinco personas e incluye adiestradores de perros que fueron enviados por solicitud del Gobierno de Papúa Nueva Guinea, dijo por teléfono un portavoz de la oficina de administración de emergencias de Australia. "Aún no sabemos en realidad cuántas personas están sepultadas. Ellos creen que la aldea en sí tenía esa cantidad de personas", dijo Alastair Wilson, refiriéndose a la cifra de 40 desaparecidos.

El deslave ocurrió el jueves en el campamento de exploración Kora, en la mina de oro Kainantu, al este de Goroka, capital de la provincia de las tierras altas del este.

El portavoz del servicio de rescate dijo a Reuters que el deslave no ocurrió en la mina, sino a algo de distancia de ella.

La mina es operada por el gigante con base en Canadá Barrick Gold.

Se espera que el equipo de rescate vuele hasta el lugar luego de su llegada a Papúa Nueva Guinea en la tarde del sábado.

(Editado en español por Ricardo Figueroa)

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