The National aka The Loggers Times
BARRICK (Niugini) Ltd says claims against the company that it owed the Porgera landowners US$4 billion (K10.54bn) as compensation over a 23-year period are without “legal merit”.
Principal landowner Jonathan Paraia had said the landowners would gather evidence before the courts to claim overdue entitlements.
He said they want to hold the miner responsible for its negligence in environmental damage and breach of contract with the landowners and Enga provincial government.
“We (landowners) have brought in experts to assist us so that Enga will follow formal procedures to deal with the issue, 23 years of nothing, we want our people to deserve what is rightfully theirs,” Paraia said.
An overseas based independent specialist firm recently arrived in Enga to investigate environmental damage caused by the giant Porgera gold mine in the province.
The team was determined to unveil overdue benefits Barrick owed to the people of Porgera and Enga. Barrick said the PNG Government, through the State Solicitor, had already provided a formal written response to the claims.
A company spokesperson said:
“Barrick shares the State view that these claims are made without any legal basis.
“Barrick is always willing to discuss directly any issues of concern with stakeholders of the Porgera Joint Venture.
“We join with the State in encouraging the use of established formal channels to discuss any concerns or issues that stakeholders may have.”
Last month, Barrick announced the sale of its 95 per cent interest in the Porgera Joint Venture to potential investors.
An inside look at the Porgera mine and conditions for local people