Approval processes for any Frieda river mine have not yet been completed – but the Australian government is already spending ‘aid’ money to help ensure the mine does go ahead.
PANAUST, the beneficiary of this ‘aid’ subsidy, is, of course, an Australian company…
Long-term plan for women at Frieda River
PANAUST and the Australian government are working together to empower women through the Frieda River copper-gold project under a new initiative called the Papua New Guinean Women in Mining Project.
In terms of an agreement signed at Frieda River last week, the partners say a three-year work program will strengthen the participation of women in the development forum process and ensure women receive lasting benefits over the life of the mine and beyond.
“The project will provide a mentor to work with women from the Frieda River area to prepare them for participation in the development forum and help organise their governance and representative structures. Selected Frieda River employees will become women’s empowerment and safety champions,” PanAust said.
The partners will also work to build literacy skills, and promote cooperative approaches to decision-making, workloads and budgeting, leadership and coalition building.
At the signing PanAust managing director Fred Hess emphasised the role mining could play in supporting women.
“Mining, perhaps more than any other industry, has the ability to empower women in remote communities. At PanAust, we consider it our responsibility to encourage that development. At our operations in Laos, we have provided pathways for women to acquire trades, become leaders in the company and start small businesses. Our partnership with the Australian government will help us emulate this success in Papua New Guinea,” Hess said.
Australian high commissioner Bruce Davis said Australia was taking part to strengthen women’s participation in resource development negotiations.
“We will help build literacy and financial skills, as well as support women to take on leadership and decision-making roles in the development negotiations, to ensure they directly benefit from mining activities in the region,” Davis said.