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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A restoration plan for the Fly River, Papua New Guinea

  • Author(s): Swanson, Kathleen
  • et al.

The Fly River Catchment drains about 3,300 km2 of southwester Papua New Guinea. The Fly River and its largest tributary, the Strickland river, are both subject to sediment discharges from mines in their headwaters. However, because of a naturally large sediment load, the increased loading on the Strickland and on the Lower fly below the confluence of the two rivers is not problematic. However, the discharge form the Ok Tedi mine into a tributaries of the Fly by the same name has choked portions of the river, caused meters of aggradation of the floodplain and severely diminished the ecological health of the system. Some efforts to mitigate the effects of the mine, but these have either failed completely or only have a small impact on the problem. The design of a tailings pipeline and impoundment area to eliminate input of highly contaminated sediments to the river is presented.

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