AT CROSSROADS

Thursday 28 February 2002

The villagers of Papua New Guinea (PNG) are caught in a legal tangle. They would invite prosecution from their own country's courts if they continue to demand compensation for environmental damages resulting from the Ok Tedi copper mine in PNG, operated by Broken Hill Proprietary, a large Australian mining group. The group has won a 60-day stay in its long-running court battle. The Melbourne Supreme Court recently adjourned all compensation applications in the light of the new PNG law which bans such legal action in foreign courts and provides for financial and jail term penalties.

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