After more than 25 years of mining by international companies, local people are still waiting to see the promised development benefits. They are becoming increasingly frustrated and desperate…
Post Courier | April 16, 2018
Barrick (Niugini) Limited , operator of the Porgera Mine in Enga, reported that operations in the Porgera open pit were temporarily suspended last week after a violent confrontation broke out between groups of illegal miners.
The company reported that mining operations in the open pit were suspended at around midnight, after two large groups of aggressive illegal miners, including some armed with firearms, began a violent confrontation near the stage 5C area of the open pit mine.
The fighting between the groups continued until about 2:30am on Tuesday morning.
BNL executive managing director, Richmond Fenn, confirmed that while all Porgera mine employees and contractors are safe and no injuries have been reported, the confrontation was a dangerous escalation of recent violent behaviour among illegal miners, due to the use of firearms by the opposing groups.
“More than 18 shots were fired by these people over a period of about two hours,” Mr Fenn said.
“While at this stage we have not confirmed whether there have been any casualties among the illegal miners from this latest outbreak of violence, the fact that violent people are engaging in gun battles on the mine’s open pit is of critical concern, and we are calling on State authorities to provide urgent assistance in bringing this under control,” Mr Fenn said.
“It is simply unacceptable that these criminals believe they can behave in this way with impunity,” Mr Fenn said.
“Mining operations in the Open Pit have resumed, but this escalation of violence needs to be stopped before someone is killed or injured.
“We have advised the relevant authorities about the situation, and will be working closely with the police and others in responding to this latest outbreak of violence,” Mr Fenn said.