FNT 0.00% 1.1¢ frontier resources limited

abc may have sparked some interest

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    Foreign correspondant program from last night. Worth a watch.


    Port Moresby correspondent Steve Marshall trekked the Kokoda Track several years ago for Foreign Correspondent. He wanted to see how the “fashion” by Australians to slog up and down the 96 kilometre trek in order to pay homage to the wartime sacrifices of Australian diggers was affecting those who live along the track.

    Now with the trekking season due to begin the track has been closed to tourists by villagers who are upset at the proposal for World Heritage listing.

    Barney Jack, speaking for the landowners of the Kodu region tells Marshall, “For me I think this is just unfair and insane, not to be able to use our resources to live.”

    Australian miner Frontier Resources claims the copper in the area could be worth $10 billion and the landowners could earn $100 million in royalties over the next decade.

    Those sorts of estimates haven’t proved persuasive so far; the Australian government takes the view that the war heritage value of the track outweighs commercial considerations and the PNG government seems inclined to agree.

    Now Soc Kienzle, who grew up on the track, and whose father Bert Kienzle helped map it, has surveyed the track by helicopter and on foot and says there’s doubt that the section of the current track which might be mined has no war heritage value.

    Crouched over his maps Kienzle tells Marshall, “The trekkers come along here, they’re moving along the main track when they deviate off onto this side track which is of no historical consequence for Australia or Papua New Guinea and from that point they looked down on the mine. Now as far as I’m concerned this area down here is irrelevant.“

    Kienzle says the current problem stems from maps drawn up in the late 1970’s by PNG surveyors. “What completely astounds me that they didn’t come anywhere near us to compare notes or ask if what they’d mapped was correct.”

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