Four Corners - After the Gold Rush
What happens when a foreign mining company bails out of a big project in a developing country? Who wins? Who loses?
These are the questions Four Corners explored following BHP's decision to exit the giant Ok Tedi gold and copper mine in Papua New Guinea. For PNG the project is an economic lifeline, providing up to 10 per cent of government income and 20 per cent of national exports.
Four Corners highlighted the dilemma faced by the PNG Government: how to keep the mine going and the money flowing while dealing with the environmental mess created by the mine. Can the government force BHP or BHP's successor to clean up the river system? Or will it have to pay for the clean-up itself in order to attract a new operator? Or just ignore the pollution altogether?
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