24 Apr 2008

Australia's Frontier Resources still says mining near PNG's Kokoda track feasible

4:26 pm on 24 April 2008

The Australian mining company, Frontier Resources, which wants to mine near the historic Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, says its position has not changed despite the signing of a new agreement.

The Papua New Guinea and Australian governments have signed a joint memorandum of understanding protecting the track and surrounding forest.

600 Australian soldiers died on the Kokoda Track while fighting the Japanese during the Second World War.

PNG's Environment Minister Benny Allan said as a result Frontier's exploration licence would not be renewed.

But Frontier Resources managing director, Peter McNeil, says they have not given up hope that their license will be granted and he believes that the PNG government is trying to please everybody.

"At this point in time they're trying to please the Australian government so I guess they're accomplishing that, but I think they're probably in turmoil because all stakeholders have recommended the renewal and the advisory body has recommended the license be renewed as well."

Peter McNeil