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kokoda heritage listing

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    Kokoda World Heritage case weak: miner
    Email Print Normal font Large font February 19, 2008 - 2:44PM

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could end up with egg on his face if his government backs the "weak" case for the Kokoda Track to be added to the World Heritage list, says a mining company.

    Australian mining company Frontier Resources fears World Heritage listing would prevent its plan to mine copper and gold on a section of the historic track in Papua New Guinea.

    The Rudd government wants UNESCO to protect the site where 600 Australian troops died while fighting the advancing Japanese troops during World War II.

    Experts from Australia's environment department are currently working with the PNG government on an application for World Heritage listing.

    Local Koiari landowners back the mining plan because they say tourism and trekking provides little or no financial support for villages on the track.

    The Kokoda Track Authority, which manages the site, believe the mine can coexist with trekking.

    Frontier managing director Peter McNeil says the case for World Heritage listing is weak.

    "Rudd will have egg on his face when the heritage listing fails," McNeil told AAP.

    "There is a mixed criteria to gain listing; history, cultural and environmental significance, but Kokoda hasn't got the adequate features to gain a listing.

    "It's a very weak case. There is no cultural value and historically Kokoda is only valued by Australia, PNG and Japan.

    "Environmental, well if Kokoda is environmentally significant then they can slap a World Heritage listing on any mountain range in the world," he said.

    McNeil said PNG ministers had failed to attend a planned meeting with Frontier and local landowners on Tuesday.

    © 2008 AAP

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