The Ok Ma dam (Ok is a local word meaning river) was to form part of the permanent tailings disposal system designed for the Ok Tedi gold and copper opencast mine located at Mount Fubilan in the Star Mountains of Papua New Guinea. During the construction works a landslide involving approximately 35 million cubic metres of soil and rock moved downslope to partially fill the foundation excavations of the dam. The failure of this landslide was the start of an insurance litigation that finally reached the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea in November 1989. The geotechnical, geomorphological and engineering geological data that were available at the time of the failure are presented together with an evaluation of the key deductions from the case study.

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