Carmella Gware | Loop PNG | February 23, 2019
While the Porgera Gold Mine has been in operation since 1990, locals claim they are yet to experience tangible benefits.
The Justice Foundation for Porgera is campaigning against the renewal of the mine’s licence, claiming obvious breaches in agreement by Porgera Joint Venture.
The Justice Foundation for Porgera labeled local children “a generation without education”.
The Foundation said over the years, the mine had done catastrophic damages to the people and the environment, but the company and the government had failed to address those issues.
It was claimed that while there are over 4,000 children in the Special Mining Lease area, none of them go to school.
The Foundation blames Porgera Joint Venture for destroying the only school in the area – the Apalaka Community School – with mine tailings.
“The Porgera landowners gave up their land in exchange for benefits, such as education,” said the Foundation.
“The Porgera Gold Mine has two massive waste dumps: Anawe and Anjoleke. The Anjoleke waste dump acted like a slow-moving rock avalanche. In 2007 it swallowed up the only school in the SML area – the Apalaka Community School.”
Locals say PJV promised to rebuild it 10 years ago, and they are still waiting.
In response, PJV says it is now in the process of identifying an ideal location for the re-establishment of the Apalaka Community School in Enga Province.
“Continuous community issues together with the increasing lawlessness in the area had prevented PJV from re- establishing the school more than two years ago,” PJV responded to Loop PNG.
“The school, initially at Apalaka village within the Special Mine Lease area, was relocated to Yarik village due to unstable ground movements at its initial location.
“Then at Yarik, also within the SML, continuous rain in the area caused a sinkhole at PJV’s underground portal, following which the remedial works had further prevented the normal operation of the relocated school.
“PJV understands that since then students have been attending schools at the nearby Mungulep and Porgera station, as well as to other areas.
“There have been 18 schools in Porgera that PJV has had some engagement through community development projects over the years. Of these, there are at least 14 government-run schools ranging from the elementary level to the secondary school.
“PJV understands that there are more than 18 schools in Porgera valley.
“Over the years, PJV has spent over K51 million on school infrastructure and resources through the Government-owned Tax Credit Scheme (TCS) in Enga Province. Of this, over K13 million has been for schools within the Porgera and Paiela areas.”