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Today's quote:

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Those were the days my friend


The discovery of vast copper ore deposits in Bougainville's Crown Prince Range led to the construction of a huge copper mine which began in 1969 and lasted for three years.

Tens of thousands of workers toiled in the mud and the heat ten hours a day six days a week under the most primitive conditions. Our 'homes' were 9x9ft dongas tastefully decorated with PLAYBOY centrefolds of girls waxed to the point of martyrdom, and our needs for comfort were satisfied by a red plastic chair on the porch.

When production started and the regular mine workers with their wives and kids arrived - see here -, things became a bit too 'civilised' for the rough construction crews and it was time to move on.

As an old Bougainville friend from those early days, who stayed until the very end of the construction phase, wrote, "I remember clearing up old files after Bechtel left. There were a couple of box files filled with letters from women, solicitors, lawyers etc., all much of the same theme, so-and-so was believed to be working on the project and was wanted for child support payments, etc. The standard reply clipped under the lid was to the effect that there were over fifty companies working on the project with a total of 10,000 workers, and if the writer would please care to contact the respective company. Of course, they knew that if they dobbed in one guy, they would instantly lose a big percentage of the workforce."

Those were the days my friend; we thought they'd never end. For more, click here.