Porgera landowners sue PNG Govt for billions

A protest against Barrick Gold. Photo: Facebook/ Kelly Taila

Radio New Zealand | 4 December 2018 

A landowners group in Papua New Guinea’s highlands region is suing the national government for $US13.28 billion over a breach of contract.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera and other landowners whose land is inside the boundaries of the Porgera gold mine are behind the suit.

They claim that Barrick Nuigini, a subsidiary of Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold, has destroyed their environment and livelihoods, and has not kept to the commitments made in the contract signed in 1989.

The Foundation’s Jonathan Paraia said the amount of money they are seeking is justified.

“That is based on the contract for Porgera Mine signed between the state and Porgera landowners, but the state has got its own agreement with the Candian mining company, Barrick. So we expect the government to call on the company to take responsibility for the claim because the company is the one that is causing the problems and destroying the people’s livelihoods,” Jonathan Paraia.

He said the initial stage of such a suit is arbitration but if that fails to reach a resolution the matter will be referred to court.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera has separately asked the courts to restrain the government from renewing the Porgera licence, which expires next May, until the issues surrounding the suit are sorted out.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

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