Jeffrey Elapa | Post Courier | March 11 2016
THREE Papua New Guineans are said to be trapped in a landslide at the Ok Tedi mine that forced all operation to be suspended.
Sources from the mine told the Post Courier late last night that heavy rain in the area for two days has caused huge landslide burying three employees together with the ONK the machine that is used to shovel rocks and minerals.
Although no reports have been received from the mine management, sources said all operations closed as of 5pm after the incident that took place an hour before the landslide in the centre of the mine where A grade reserves are usually mine.
The sources said the rescue team were attempts to recover the bodies of the three employees believed to be strapped among the collapsed ground and rocks but it is not known if they are alive or dead as rescue work was continuing.
The closure has also forced the operation at Kiunga where the ores are stored before shipment.
The Ok Tedi mine is an open mine and the condition of the three employees are confirmed but the management would make an official report on the incident as rescue team continues to find the bodies.
The source said operations like the Semi-Automatic Operation Grinding machine one at the processing plant has been forced shut while another one is undergoing maintenance which should be commissioned soon.
The Semi-Automatic Operation grilling machine that is used by driller at the mine while other important facilities like the major mill was also shut down.
However it is believed that all operation will be suspended for an indefinite period but the management would make a formal announcement later this week.
The source further stated that a similar incident caused the open pit mine where high grade gold is mine was covered with debris even before the mine shut in 2015.
The incident happened only 1o days after the mine was reopened after being closed for almost 7 months as a result of the drought that affected the Fly River water level to drop.
The mine is owned by the Government after taking over from BHP who left to avoid damages claim after the Fly River system was polluted.
The management is expected to make an official statement in relation to the incident today.
The management were unable to be contacted for further comments.