10 Feb 2012

Questions raised over PNG land slide report findings

3:02 pm on 10 February 2012

Questions are emerging about a report into last month's Tumbi landslide released by Papua New Guinea's National Disaster Centre.

Although disaster officials say the report is only an initial assessment, it identifies heavy rainfall as the trigger for the landslide which reports say killed at least 25 people.

Johnny Blades reports.

"The NDC report only briefly mentions the Tumbi quarry, part of which was lost in the landslide that submerged the village directly below. The limestone quarry had been used by Exxon Mobil for its Liquefied Natural Gas project. Dave Petley, a Professor of GeoHazard and Risk at Durham University, says the report lacks analysis of the quarry's role in the landslide. He queries the report's assessment of currently high groundwater levels and liquefaction as factors, saying limestone is not a material that undergoes liquefaction, and that seepage and pools are to be expected in the aftermath of a landslide. Meanwhile, the gas project watchdog, LNG Watch, has questioned the collaboration of Exxon representatives and Australian officials in the NDC report."