15 Nov 2012

In PNG call for scientific study to determine if Ok Tedi to blame for deaths

7:16 pm on 15 November 2012

The former governor of Papua New Guinea's Western Province, Dr Bob Danaya, says there has to be a comprehensive scientific study into the health impacts of the Ok Tedi mine.

Dr Danaya, who is a medical doctor, says recent case studies collected from villagers along the Fly River appear to show the health effects are worsening with possibly more than a dozen women reported to have died of unexplained bleeding.

He says over the life of the mine he estimates there have been up to 500 deaths but it has never been established just what has caused them.

"What the medical people need to do is proper research, do blood samples, tissue samples to determine exactly what problems they are dealing with along the Fly River, particularly affecting women and young children."

Dr Bob Danaya.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill has directed the departments of Health, Environment and Conservation, and other bodies to investigate the deaths.