7 Mar 2008

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister says Kokoda Track will gain World Heritage listing

9:08 am on 7 March 2008

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, says the Kokoda Track will gain World Heritage listing, but the extent to which it can coexist with mining has yet to be decided.

Sir Michael was speaking at a news conference with Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd after they met for talks in Port Moresby.

The Kokoda Track, which Australia wants added to the World Heritage list, was among topics discussed.

Local landowners oppose the listing, saying it will hurt them economically by preventing proposed mining near the track, where Australians stopped the Japanese advance during World War II.

They are backing Australian company Frontiers Resources' bid for a renewed mining exploration licence at a site that would partly damage the track.

Landowners protested outside Port Moresby airport yesterday when Mr Rudd flew in for a three-day visit.

Later, Sir Michael said all parties had to be satisfied over the issue.

He said a conclusion would be reached when PNG and Australian ministers meet in Madang in PNG in April.