11 Oct 2005

Little hope of finding PNG miners alive after landslide

11:36 am on 11 October 2005

Australian Miner Lihir Gold Ltd holds little hope of finding alive two missing mine workers after a landslide at the company's namesake mine in Papua New Guinea.

The landslide at the weekend has also forced the mine to cease operations until the area is stabilised and workers are able to return.

Some 40 people have been involved in a search and rescue mission for the two workers who have been missing since the landslide Sunday morning.

Lihir general manager external affairs Murray Eagle said one worker was in the direct path of the landslide while the second was in a tugboat in Louise Harbour and capsized due to a resulting tidal surge.

The families of the workers, both Papua New Guinea nationals, have been notified and Lihir had offered to take them to the mine site

Processing and gold production at the Lihir mine had been suspended since the middle of last week after increased seismic activity interrupted the water supply to the mine.

Mr Eagle said it was not clear how long it would be before production resumed.

The mine has an annual gold target of 700,000 ounces and it is expected production for October would be affected by the plant closure.