24 Apr 2008

PNG Kokoda mining plan abandoned

1:57 pm on 24 April 2008

People in Papua New Guinea are said to be relieved that mining near the historic Kokoda Track will not go ahead.

The governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia have signed a joint memorandum of understanding which has put an end to efforts by the australian mining company Frontier Resources to explore a site near the track.

The memorandum protects the track and surrounding forest and both sides have agreed to work towards gaining World Heritage listing for the 96 kilometre track.

600 Australian soldiers died there fighting the Japanese during the Second World War.

Discussions on paying compensation to landowner groups who stood to make millions of dollars from the Frontier proposal are underway.

The Chief of Staff at the Post Courier newspaper, Gorethy Kenneth, says people in Papua New Guinea have welcomed the news.

"A lot of people in Papua New Guinea are happy that at least the Kokoda track will be kept as a track site. We had a call from the Kokoda track authority saying that the landowners and they are very happy and part of Popondetta through which the Kokoda track runs made a call this morning to the Post Courier congratulating the agreement deal signed."

Gorethy Kenneth