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28 August 2010


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Amidst the smorgasbord of viewing on Australian ABC TV tonight was a revealing piece on Lihir and the alleged "out of sight, out of mind" marine tailings disposal method of dealing with waste.

Lawyer Tiffany Nonggorr was featured. Her expose on the push by mining operators in PNG to avoid world-best-practice tailings disposal was a timely eye opener for all Australians.

Soon to retire Lihir Chairman, Dr Ross Garnaut, was also portrayed extolling the virtues of the mine's operations which were in direct contrast (environmentally) to the propositions he once defended during his tenure as former Aussie PM Rudd's right hand man in the climate change debate leading up to Copenhagen.

Also seen tonight on the ABC was PNG justice adviser, Don Hurrell. Don is the son of former Kiap, Lloyd Hurrell. He was featured discussing the negotiations and mitigation of disputes arising out of a prominent Highlands land compensation case.

It was amazing to see this man whom I remember as a teenager in Wau, now the image of his dad, Lloyd, and very much the right man in the right place at the right time in an historic moment of PNG affairs.

My grandfather came out to NSW from Scotland at the age of nine in 1854. In the 1870s he found gold at Burnt Yards near Carcoar, where he was a bootmaker.

I was back in the area in April and, while taking photo of the place where he struck gold, I realised that I was also taking a photo of the Newcrest's Cadia Valley gold mines.

The people of PNG who have bought shares in the Lihir gold mine will be interested to hear what was on the Newcrest noticeboard: "We act with integrity and honesty. We care about people. We work together. We value innovation and problem solving. We seek high performance in ourselves and in others."

Let's hope that this is what happens and that it rubs off on all PNG people, especially on the politicians!

In January 2010 Cadia gold/copper mine announced that they plan to develop a new underground mine to the east of the existing Cadia Hill open-cut mine. It will be the largest mine in Australia and the second-largest gold mine in the world.

My grandfather would have been very interested in it all.

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