14 Feb 2012

PNG's Tumbi quarry was safe, says former superintendent

7:32 am on 14 February 2012

The former superintendent of the quarry partly lost in a landslide in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands province says operations at the quarry were not unsafe.

Located at the top of the landslide that buried at least 25 people, the quarry was used by Exxon Mobil's major Liquefied Natural Gas project.

Last March, the quarry was declared unsafe by an Independent Environmental and Social Consultant.

Kevin Munday, who managed the quarry for project contractor MCJV, says the slip occurred at an old part of the quarry which his team didn't use.

"We always had geologists down there looking at it. We always had environmentalists down there looking at it. In that respect, we didn't let that part of it slip. Managing the new quarry faces that we put in, we could have done it in a rushed format - we didn't. But at no time was I directed by MCJV to take risks or cut corners to get material out quicker."

The quarry closed in September.