Porgera landowners may close mine

Landowners gather for a protest at Porgera in October

Landowners gather for a protest at Porgera in October

Jeffrey Elapa | Post Courier

The landowners of the world class Porgera gold mine in the Enga province plan to force shut the mine after the National Government has failed to honour commitments under the mine’s Memorandum of Agreement.

They are calling on department of treasury to explain to the landowners the reason for the hold back and when the funds should be released before the landowners take the law into their hands.

Chairman of the Porgera landowners Association Tony Mark Ekepa said from Porgera yesterday that under the mine MOA, the government agreed to provide K10 million for the construction of the Porgera-Tari road but the funds have not been released.

He said they checked up with the mineral resource authority for the funds but they were told that the funds have not been released by the department of treasury.

However he said it was unfair for the landowners of the Porgera gold mine to miss out on the funds when the Ok Tedi landowners were given funding under similar mine agreements.

He said the Porgera gold is like any other mine in the country contributing to the coffers of the nation but the government’s intention to withhold the funding is unacceptable.

He said the failure of the government would now force them to mobilize and shut the mine.

“We have waited for a year and the financial year has ended. We need services like any other landowners and the failure to release the fund would have detrimental effects on the operation of the mine.

“The government sanctioned Porgera Development Authority has also waited for funds for impact projects in the area but has not received any funding from the government affecting developments in the area. This movement’s deliberate move has now forced us (the landowners) to mobilize to force the mine to close until the government honours its commitments. It is our right to funds under the agreements but we have denied that right,” he said.

He said Porgera mine has contributed significantly contributed to the economy of the country and should be appreciated and the funds made available for developments in their area.

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Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

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