Tag Archives: Justice Foundation for Porgera

PNG landowner push for miner’s exit up against the odds

Johnny Blades | Radio New Zealand | 8 October 2018

A Canadian mining company appears to have government support in the face of landowner opposition to its presence in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands.

Barrick Gold is seeking a renewal of its Special Mining Lease licence at Enga province’s Porgera gold mine which it and Chinese miner ZiJin each own a 47.5 percent stake in.

But landowners are urging the government to reject the licence application due largely to Barrick’s stewardship of the Porgera Joint Venture for the past decade.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera says the mine has caused irreparable environmental damage and human rights abuses.

The group, which claims to represent landowners in the mine area, also accuses Barrick of failing to compensate victims of abuses or to resettle those displaced by the mine’s operations.

Its chairman Jonathan Paraia said that for almost thirty years the mine had caused many problems for landowners, and that the government should not renew Barrick’s permit.

“Because of overwhelming objection from the local community, even if they issue the exploration license, physically the landowners will not allow them to explore in their areas,” Mr Paraia explained.

“They want Barrick out of Porgera or Papua New Guinea. They want the mine to operate but they want to change the ownership rights.”

But the Lagaip Porgera MP, Tomait Kapili, claimed that the Justice Foundation for Porgera did not legally represent landowners, and said the Porgera Landowners Association remained the legitimate local representative body.

Mr Kapili has poured cold water on the Justice Foundation’s attempts to drive Barrick out.

A member of the national government, the MP said he expected the license would be renewed. But Mr Kapili said the new license could be granted on improved terms for landowners who currently have a 2 percent stake in the mine, and a measure of leverage.

“I’m ready to negotiate with Barrick and ZiJin on those funds, not to accuse them of this and that, and then tell them you’ve done enough damage, we take over the mine and all that,” he said.

“They (Barrick and ZiJin) have big investment in there, they are not going to move out. None of the allegations have been tested, except for the security guards’ harassment of ladies.”

Zijin Mining’s Chen Jinghe and Barrick Gold’s John Thornton Photo: Supplied

Some security personnel employed by Barrick were implicated in brutal gang rapes of local women and girls, part of a long history of lawlessness and violence around the Porgera mine.

A Barrick spokesperson denied that there have been any credible reports of rapes by its security contractors since the matter was investigated in 2010.

He also denied that the company hadn’t fulfilled its commitments to landowners removed from the mine lease area.

“The Porgera Mine pays significant statutory land use compensation to traditional landowners of the land on which the mine is situated,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“The company notes that this compensation is determined by government regulation, and that contrary to recent claims, the mine has always complied with its compensation payment obligations.”

Regarding Mr Paraia’s claim that the mine hasn’t produced promised benefits for the local community or those evicted due to the mining operations, Barrick defended its record.

“In addition to providing many thousands of jobs for Porgerans and other Papua New Guineans, the mine has provided funding for the development of critical public infrastructure in Enga and adjacent Provinces throughout its operating life to date.”

On the back of collapsed revenues over the past couple of years, PNG’s government is unlikely to want Barrick to leave the country when there is no obvious replacement with the know-how to exploit the Porgera deposit.

“To date the Porgera Joint Venture has paid over 3.3 billion kina in taxes and more than 520 million kina in royalties, providing a long-term source of important public revenue for Enga, the National Government and the Porgera Landowners themselves,” Barrick’s spokesperson said.

Porgera mine. Photo: wikicommons / Richard Farbellini

The Mining Warden, Kopi Wapa, has been conducting hearings in Porgera as part of public consultations over the license application, before submitting his report to the Mining Advisory Council which ultimately makes a recommendation to the minister on whether to appove the license.

In his recent visit to Mr Wapa witnessed vocal crowds of Porgera landowners demonstrating their opposition to Barrick remaining. But Mr Paraia said his group was frustrated that their legal counsel was denied an opportunity to present their case to Mr Wapa.

According to Mr Paraia, he fears the mining warden may have been compromised.

“It is alleged, he flew into the mining area at the cost of the company, and he was accommodated at the company. They were eating and dining together. And he was subject to influence by the company. That’s why we thought the lawyer was denied from speaking.”

However, the Justice Foundation of Porgera has indicated it will serve a notice of dispute, and has suggested an independent arbitrator be engaged by the government as it weighs up whether to renew the Porgera Joint Venture’s Special Mining Lease agreement which expires next year.

Advertisements

1 Comment

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

Porgera landowners protest 30 years of breaches by Barrick Gold

Landowners Claim Breach Of Agreement By Barrick Gold

Zombi Kep | Post Courier | October 1, 2018

Disgruntled landowners of Porgera gold mine held a protest demonstration during the Mining Warden hearing held last Thursday in Paiam, Porgera, Enga Province against the mining operator’s failure to follow the contract that was signed nearly 30 years ago.

Chanting, ‘Barrick out’ a large number of people attended the protest held against Toronto-based Barrick Gold for not giving them what rightfully belongs to the Porgera Special Mining Lease (SML) landowners.

The protestors led by the Justice Foundation of Porgera said that Barrick Gold, the Canadian corporation that is the world’s largest gold mining company has failed to fulfil some of the agreements that were signed in a memorandum of agreement in 1990.

Chairman of Justice Foundation of Porgera Ltd Jonathan Paraia said that the Porgera Gold mine has been operating for 30 years but has failed to comply with some of the benefits in the agreement.

“Over the years, those things promised in the agreement were not delivered. And now the landowners will serve a notice of dispute as well as claim for breaches of agreement.”

He said that they will take it up to the government to address it before they renew the mining lease next year.

“We are going to submit our notice of dispute and we have nominated an arbitrator to arbitrate it, we are just waiting for the government to agree to that arbitrator who is from Australia.”

Mr Paraia said that after the government agrees to the arbitrator, they will proceed with the arbitration process under the current agreement.

Meanwhile, he alleged that apart from the destruction of their livelihoods, environment and river systems, the company owes the SML landowners US$40 billion.

“Barrick did not comply with our existing agreement under the mining development contract which they are supposed to do certain things and they have failed to do that and the landowners have lodged claims for US$40 billion through the government because their agreement is with the government.”

He said that the government is protected under the intermediate clause.

“So if such claims go in through the government than the national government will pay for that.” he added.

1 Comment

Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

No Renewal For Porgera

Post Courier | December 3, 2017

The Porgera Special Mining Lease area landowners have thrown in their support for the Governor Sir Peter Ipatas’s call not to issue any mining lease when it expires in 2019.

Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas has called on the National Government not to renew the Porgera Special Mining Lease when it expires in 2019, and further called for an investigation into the issuing of fraudulent water permit to Porgera Joint Venture.

In support of the Governor’s call, the Justice Foundation for Porgera Limited (JFPL), has already notified the registrar of mining tenements not to register the PJV’s application for the renewal of the SML, on the basis that a majority portion of the customary lands of the SML area, will not be available for mining purposes beyond 2019.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Barrick Gold faces legal action in PNG over Porgera mine

“Barrick will sell its interests without proper notice and exit Papua New Guinea leaving the landowners with a new owner who will not provide restitution for the damage left behind so that MRE, the landowners or citizens of Papua New Guinea will be left with an insurmountable bill to remedy the social and environmental damage” 

gold

Esmarie Swanepoel | Mining Weekly

Gold miner Barrick Gold was facing a legal challenge at its Porgera mine, in Papua New Guinea, with landowners in the region claiming billions of dollars in compensation.

The Justice Foundation for Porgera (JFP), which represents landowners in the Porgera region, has submitted a position statement to Barrick and its subsidiary Barrick Niugini outlining irreparable losses as a result of social, economic and environmental damages caused by the Porgera gold mine.

Displaced by the mine’s activity, 14 landowner clan agents of the Porgera special mining lease formed the JFP.

The group claims that landowners’ subsistence and livelihoods were catastrophically changed as a result of the near doubling of the openpit mining rate and that Barrick Niugini, a subsidiary of Barrick, had breached agreements pertaining to environmental standards, the relocation of displaced landowners and the number of fly-in, fly-out workers to the region.

JFP reported that a group of specialists, including lawyers, scientists and film crew, have conducted a fact-finding mission to the area to gather data and evidence to support the group’s claims, with the evidence secured including photographs of impoverished townships, harsh living conditions and poor quality infrastructure. It also includes testimony from landowners, including women who claimed to have been gang raped and families who allege that they have been forcibly removed from their land without compensation.

The JFP pointed to a 2011 Human Rights Watch report, which found that Barrick Niugini-hired mine guards detained women found trespassing on the mine site and “gave them a choice of submitting to gang rape or going to prison”. The report also stated that “Barrick has responded with dismissive hostility to concerns about its human rights record at Porgera”.

In February this year, Barrick announced plans to sell its 95% share of the Porgera mine, to help reduce the company’s debt by at least $3-billion by year-end.

The gold miner’s joint venture partner, Mineral Resources Enga (MRE), which holds the remaining 5% interest in the Porgera mine in trust for landowners with the Enga provincial government, has expressed its displeasure at the development.

“Barrick will sell its interests without proper notice and exit Papua New Guinea leaving the landowners with a new owner who will not provide restitution for the damage left behind or that MRE, the landowners or citizens of Papua New Guinea will be left with an insurmountable bill to remedy the social and environmental damage,” said MRE chairperson and director Kurubu Ipara.

Barrick’s share of gold production from the Porega operation reached 493 000 oz in 2014, and in 2015, the mine was expected to deliver between 500 000 oz and 550 000 oz to the gold miner.

2 Comments

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

Barrick Gold facing multi-billion dollar claim by PNG landowners

homes burning at Porgera

PR Wire

Justice Foundation for Porgera (JFP), an entity which represents landowners in the Porgera region in north-western Papua New Guinea, has submitted a position statement to Barrick Gold and its subsidiary Barrick Niugini outlining irreparable losses as a result of social, economic and environmental damages caused by its Porgera gold mine. JFP are seeking billions of dollars in compensation on behalf of Landowners from Barrick Niugini through the claims set out in the position statement.

The position statement claims that landowners’ subsistence and livelihoods were catastrophically changed as a result of the almost doubling of the open pit mining rate which had initially been agreed to in the 1989 MDC, and that Barrick Niugini breached agreements pertaining to environmental standards, the relocation of displaced landowners and the number of fly-in, fly-out workers to the region.

Barrick recently announced its intention to sell its interests in Papua New Guinea as part of a greater debt reduction plan which includes the sale of assets in Australia. The position statement was provided to both Barrick Gold Corporation Canada and Barrick Niugini Ltd on 24 February 2015, putting the company on notice to disclose the landowner’s pending legal claims to any potential investors.

Within weeks, Barrick Niugini engaged Credit Suisse to search for an external buyer for its 95 per cent stake in the Porgera mine, and other interests in Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Kurubu Ipara, Chairman and Director, Mineral Resources Enga (MRE), which holds 5 per cent share of the mine in trust for the landowners with the Enga Provincial Government, claims that:

“Barrick will sell its interests without proper notice and exit PNG leaving the Landowners with a new owner who will not provide restitution for the damage left behind or that MRE, the Landowners or citizens of PNG will be left with an insurmountable bill to remedy the social and environmental damage”– 6 February 2015

A group of specialists, including lawyers, scientists and film crew, have recently conducted a fact-finding mission to the area to gather data and evidence to support JFP’s claims. Evidence secured includes photographs of impoverished townships, harsh living conditions and poor quality infrastructure. It also includes testimony from landowners, including women who claimed to have been gang raped and families who allege that they have been forcibly removed from their land without compensation.

A 2011 Human Rights Watch report found that Barrick Niugini-hired mine guards detained women found trespassing on the mine site and

“gave them a choice of submitting to gang rape or going to prison”.

The report also states that:

“Barrick has responded with dismissive hostility to concerns about its human rights record at Porgera.”

JFP was formed by 14 landowner clan agents of the Porgera Special Mining Lease that were displaced by the mine’s activity.

Leave a comment

Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea