15 Feb 2008

PNG Kokoda trail can be re-routed, says Track Authority

3:54 pm on 15 February 2008

Papua New Guinea's Kokoda Track Authority says the historic trail could be re-routed slightly for trekking to co-exist with mining.

Landowners have blocked part of the Track, protesting at the delay in renewal of the exploration licence for Australian mining company Frontier Resources.

The PNG government has been under pressure from Australia's government not to facilitate continued exploration near the Track by Frontier.

Canberra opposes any development which might impact on the Track where Australian troops fought Japanese in World War II.

However the executive officer of the Authority, Warren Bartlett, says most landowners want mining to go ahead on a small scale basis and think it can co-exist with trekking.

"We've been advocating that the track in that section can be re-routed to the West slightly. If you look at the wartime maps of the area, what we presently call the Kokoda Track or the Kokoda trail was a wartime track which incorporated some of the other tracks that were in the area. But the main one, let's say we'll call it the Kokoda Trail, there are secondary parallel tracks and there's about three or four of them in the area."

Warren Bartlett of the Kokoda Track Authority