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Rehabilitation of Nauru landscape finally und -

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TONY JONES: After decades of phosphate mining the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru looks more like a
moonscape than a tropical paradise. But, finally, the rehabilitation of the island has begun with
funds accumulating for a decade in an Australian account. As Sean Dorney reports from Nauru, the
work started with a controlled explosion to shatter the first of the island's traditional

SEAN DORNEY: The start of rehabilitation on Nauru has been a long time coming.

GRAEME RAPLEY, NAURU REHABILITATION CORPORATION: Sean, you can see the blast fracture mark down
through there and you can see the hole over there, the fracture line coming through there, that's
all we want. We only want to crack 'em. So what we are going to do is just push those over, maybe
break them with the block breaker, pick them up with the grab, put them on the back of the truck
and take it to the crusher.

SEAN DORNEY: In the 1990s the Keating Government settled out of court when Nauru sued Australia
before the International Court of Justice, setting up a trust fund to pay for the island's
rehabilitation. It's only just beginning now after Australia agreed some of the money could be
spent on new equipment that will not only get rid of the pinnacles, but also mine the residual
phosphate down below.

FREDERICK PITCHER, NAURU REHABILITATION MINISTER: Now when I took on this portfolio a few years ago
I made it clear to Australia that I thought secondary mining was an important part of
rehabilitation. We had to remove the phosphate in the pinnacles first before we could level the
land and rebuild and regrow on it.

SEAN DORNEY: The trial rehabilitation plot has been selected for a reason.

GRAEME RAPLEY: It's been talked about for at least the last 10 years and nothings happened. All
I've heard is a lot of talk. Finally we're at that stage now where it's going to happen. Now,
people are sceptical about, "Ah, we've heard all this talk, nothing's happened", and now they can
see something happening. But they're still sceptical as to how the land's going to be
rehabilitated. So we chose that block where the public can drive up and have a look.

SEAN DORNEY: Nauru was once known as "pleasant island", returning it to that state is the
rehabilitation aim. Sean Dorney, Lateline.