Rosalyn Albaniel | Post Courier
PORGERA Mine in Enga Province has stopped operations due to low water levels caused by the El Nino.
This will be the second biggest mining operation to shut down after the OK Tedi mining operations stopped operations due to low water levels.
The PNG Chamber of Commerce has also stated that the long drought period caused by the El Nino weather will see companies scaling down operations and laying off workers.
Operator Barrick (Niugini) Limited said production has been temporarily halted at the Porgera Mine due to low water levels at the mine’s Walie Creek reservoir, brought on by the El-Nino.
Barrick was forced last week to temporarily shut down its milling and processing plants which are water-intensive production activities.
Barrick managing director Greg Walker said in responding to questions put to him last week that some minor processing activities had been suspended the week prior.
“The very unusual extended dry weather conditions that we have seen in recent months have meant that our supplies of production water have run very low and we have made the decision to shut down our milling and processing plants for the time being to conserve our water supply,” he said.
Mr Walker said that the company would be using the opportunity to bring forward some of its scheduled maintenance activities, adding that they did not anticipate any significant economic impact to the mine’s operations.
At a time when many companies in the resource sector have had to shed staff and/or cut costs to maintain their operations, Mr Walker said that:
“to date no Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) employee has been laid off due to the temporary shutdown.”
“This may mean some changes to current work rosters at our operations, as we shift towards maintenance tasks, but we are hopeful these will be minimal,” he said.
He said the lifting of the temporary suspension to the mines activities would depend on the return of adequate water levels at its reservoir.
“We are continuing to monitor those water levels, and will resume all mine functions once the levels meet water supply needs,” Mr Walker said.