25 Jan 2012

PNG disaster officials to investigate landslide cause

2:45 pm on 25 January 2012

Disaster officials in Papua New Guinea say earthworks carried out by the project manager of a huge liquified natural gas project could have contributed to a landslide which has buried several people in a southern highlands' village.

The landslide struck yesterday morning in an area between the Hides gas fields and the project's Nogoli base.

The acting director of the disaster office, Martin Mose, says as many as 60 people could have been buried but those numbers have not been confirmed.

He says ESSO Highlands Ltd, the project operator, had been doing quarry work at a site just above the village.

"They had been digging limestone for gravel and things like that and that's actually where the landslide may have occurred from. That seems to be the most probable rationale but we've got a specialist going there to help to confirm what would have been the possible cause."

Martin Mose.

Work has stopped in the vicinity of the LNG Project where the landslide occurred.