25 Jan 2012

LNG company rejects PNG landslide theory

4:40 pm on 25 January 2012

The operator of the multi-billion dollar liquified natural gas project in Papua New Guinea says it has not used a quarry, near where a landslide occurred in the Southern Highlands, for the past six months.

The landslide struck yesterday morning in an area between the Hides gas fields and the project's Nogoli base.

The acting director of the national disaster office, Martin Mose, says it is difficult to establish how many people might have been buried, but says it could be as many as 60.

The disaster struck near the Tumbi quarry, where Esso Highlands, the LNG project manager, had carried out some earthworks.

Mr Mose says that could have weakened the earth and contributed to the landslide.

But the ESSO Highlands Limited spokesperso,n Rebecca Arnold, says it has not used the Tumbi quarry in over six months.

She says all of its employees have been accounted for.