Tag Archives: Porgera

Barrick Calls For State Intervention in Porgera

Women search for gold downstream from the Porgera mine

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.

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Royalty Issue Leads To Porgera Shoot-Out

Porgera mine. Photo: wikicommons / Richard Farbellini

Jeffrey Elapa | Post Courier | April 12, 2018

The recent incident of armed illegal miners shootout with mine security guards is a result of landowner benefits, local landowner leaders from Porgera claimed.

A chief and community leader Ekale Kangalia said the recent shootout between armed illegal miners and company securities is a result of the stop on the royalty payments since 2014.

He said the cashflow in the area was sustained by the royalties from the Porgera gold mine until infighting in the Porgera Special Purpose Authority (PDA) led to the closure of the account.

Mr Kangalia said after years of frustration, the locals resorted to accessing the mine pit to venture for gold to sell and earn money to support themselves and their families.

He said the PDA directors’ infighting has forced them to go to the courts to obtain a court order to stop the royalty payments to the landowners.

Mr Kangalia claimed the PDA is a government sectioned body that comes under the Porgera Paiala Local Level Government Council and had nothing to do with the landowner royalty.

“This is unnecessary court orders when there is nothing to do with the directorship of the board of PDA. A royalty is an undisputed benefit to the landowners. Something has to be done to allow the people to benefit from their rightful benefits to put a stop to illegal mining as the only means of cash flow has been stopped by the court.

“Their only benefit is being stopped so the people have no other option but get into the mine and look for gold,” he said.

Mr Kangalia is calling on Barrick Niugini Limited and the National Government to look at ways to allow the people to receive their benefit as matter of importance.

He said the recent incident of armed conflict must not be taken lightly.

“We must know that the landowners are entering into the mine pit armed with high powered weapons to look for gold is the first time since the start of the mine. They have been supportive of the company but they can’t wait anymore so they went in to look for money,” he said.

Barrick Niugini Limited management also confirmed shutting down of the mine pit operations after the shootout with armed men.

Porgera Landowners Association chairman Tony Mark Ekepa when contacted confirmed the incident.

He said the stop payment on the royalties is now before a three-men Supreme Court.

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Damage to Hides power plant serious: Barrick

The Porgera mine

The National aka The Loggers Times | March 5, 2018

Barrick (Niugini) Ltd has reported significant damage to its mine power generation plant located at Hides in Hela in the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck the area last Monday.

The operator of the Porgera Mine in Enga, Barrick (Niugini), executive managing director Richmond Fenn said the power generation facility was located closer to the epicentre of the earthquake.

“While the mine itself has not been damaged, the power plant has been seriously damaged and is now offline,” Fenn said.

“Consequently, production and processing facilities at the mine were shut down.

“The mine is currently operating on power provided by backup generators located at the mine site. The open pit and underground mines remain in operation while the processing plant is shut down to allow a more detailed assessment of the situation.

“A preliminary visual assessment of the Hides facility by our maintenance teams has confirmed that potentially significant damage to gas turbines, transformers and control modules has occurred, as well as damage to buildings and other infrastructure at the plant.

“Our conclusion from this initial assessment is that resumption of electricity generation from the Hides facility may take several months to achieve.

“It will take several weeks to conduct more detailed inspections of the facility and generating equipment before a comprehensive assessment is available.

“We are still evaluating the likely impact of the event on our 2018 production targets.”

Fenn noted that the PJV (Porgera Joint Venture) management team had initiated a plan to resume limited production of gold at the mine.

“The Hides facility typically provided approximately 70MW of power to the Porgera Mine.”

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Miners report some infrastructure damage after Papua quake

Landslide and damage to a road near the Ok Tedi mine. Jerome Kay/Handout via REUTERS

Melanie Burton and Sonali Paul | Reuters | February 27, 2018

Miners in northwest Papua New Guinea reported some damage to infrastructure following a powerful magnitude 7.5 earthquake that hit on Monday, as projects in the resource-rich region assess the impact on their operations.

Barrick Gold Corp said a power station that supplies its Porgera gold mine had been damaged, while Ok Tedi Mining Ltd said a landslip had blocked a road and damaged pipelines to its copper and gold mine in the Star Mountains.

The PNG government said it had sent disaster assessment teams to the rugged Southern Highlands about 560 km (350 miles) northwest of the capital, Port Moresby, following the quake early on Monday and a series of aftershocks.

No casualties have been confirmed.

“It’s premature to comment on what the impact to Porgera may be as those assessments remain underway. ‎The mine does have limited back up power generation available on site,” Barrick Gold spokesman Andy Lloyd said in emailed comments.

Electricity from the power station is mainly used by the processing plant at Porgera. The mining fleet uses diesel. Porgera is co-owned by China’s Zijin Mining Group.

State-owned Ok Tedi said that a landslip blocking roads would likely take several days to clear, but did not comment on any direct impact to operations.

“Maintenance work on the damaged pipes will begin as soon as road access is restored and spare pipes are transported to the location,” it said in a statement.

Early estimates are that it will take at least several days to clear the road to allow for normal traffic flow, with work due to start on Tuesday morning, it said.

Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which sits on the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire”, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates. Part of PNG’s northern coast was devastated in 1998 by a tsunami, generated by a 7.0 quake, which killed about 2,200 people.

ExxonMobil said on Monday it had shut its Hides gas conditioning plant and that it believed administration buildings, living quarters and a mess hall had been damaged.

Gas is processed at Hides and transported along a 700 km (435 miles) line that feeds a liquefied natural gas plant near Port Moresby for shipping.

PNG oil and gas explorer Oil Search said in a statement on Monday it had also shut production in the quake-affected area. 

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Student Shot Dead In Porgera

Jerry Sefe | Post Courier | February 9, 2018

A Porgera student was attacked and shot dead at the Lime plant in Porgera District by a tribal group on Wednesday.

The twenty-two year old Locklan George Brugh was on his way with his fellow cousins to drop-off food supplies for Mt Kare after a long awareness campaign on law and order and tribal issues affecting people of Porgera when they were held up and attacked.

The late Locklan who comes from a mix parentage of Australia and Porgera was a student at Mt Diamond Secondary in Central Province and left to Porgera on December, 28, 2017 after his acceptance letter from the Porgera Gold Mine Job Ready Program.

Family’s immediate uncle and Porgera community leader Mr Philip Mungalo said the late Locklan was among other students awaiting his offer to start job at the mine when he met his faith at the hands of the tribal group from Mt Kare.

Mr Mungalo said the attack was an act of inhuman and disrespect and not involving his clan the Anga and Maipangi in Porgera town area.

However he said they have taken an innocent young man’s life who has more to achieve in his future and someone who has the heart to serve his district.

“I was in shocked to hear my nephew being held up at gun point and shot by a tribal group from Mt Kare area which I never being in conflict with them since” said Mr Mungalo.

“For years law and order have been a major issue in Porgera District and we want the government to intervene and restore full law and order enforcement in the area” he said.

He also condemned the actions of the people involved and call on the leaders of Mt Kare and Paiala area to work with the police to carryout thorough investigation into the matter before the law.

Father of the late Locklan in Australia has also called on the Porgera authorities, Porgera Niugini Barrick and Enga Provincial and local level government to assist the family retrieve his son’s body to Hagen and be flown over to Port Moresby.

Mr George is expected to be in the country in the coming week for the funeral of his late son.

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Human Rights Advocates Unite for Porgera Women

Ramcy Wama | Post Courier | January 26, 2018

Four human rights groups have complied with Canadian gold miner Barrick Gold’s request to unite to seek redress for atrocities committed against women in the past 20 years at Porgera gold mine in Enga Province.

Akali Tanga Association, Human Rights Inter Pacific Association, Porgera Red Wara Women Association and 118 Indigenous Women Association announced their unity in Porgera last Friday

The four had been separately fighting against the negative human rights impacts caused by the Porgera Gold Mine since the mine started its operation in 1989.

They claim to represent victims who were allegedly poisoned from the chemical waste, women and girls who were raped and sexually assaulted by mine workers and related social problems affecting the landowners as a result of the mining operation.

The Barrick Gold Corporation, the joint owner company of Barrick Niuguini Limited (BNL) that currently operates Porgera Gold Mine, asked for the four advocates to unite and claim for the remedy for the victims because of duplicity in separate claims.

Barrick Gold chief sustainable officer Peter Sinclair, in an email on October 29, 2016, had asked the advocates, Akali Tanga Association and Human Rights Inter Pacific to make one claim for all the victims for the company to evaluate and approve.

“Given the serious nature of these allegations, and the volume and nature of the claims presented, significant time will be required to complete an evaluation of each claim, which may include consultations with external stakeholders.

“Be assured that we will use our influence as an equal shareholder of BNL to emphasise the critical importance of BNL management adhering to its own human rights policy, including a commitment to investigate and respond to allegations of negative human rights impacts that BNL may have caused or contributed to in a fair and effective manner,” Mr Sinclair said.

Human Rights Inter Pacific chairman Karath Mal Mawa said yesterday that the human rights groups had agreed to make a united submission on abuses at the mine.

“We have fixed each claim of the individuals and are ready to launch for remedy payment,” Mr Mawa said.

Some of the victims presented about 30 pigs in appreciating the four human rights uniting to press for redress.

In April 2015 Barrick Gold settled 11 claims of atrocities committed against women at Porgera.

The settlement in Canada was reached with EarthRights International, a non-governmental organisation, that was representing the women, bringing to a close all of the outstanding claims made by women, who were allegedly beaten, raped, and threatened by the miner’s security personnel and employees.

Some incidents dated back to even before Barrick bought the mine via its takeover of Placer Dome in 2006.

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January 26, 2018 · 12:43 pm

New watchdog to investigate Canadian companies for human rights abuses

Hilary Beaumont | Vice News | January 18, 2018

The Canadian government is creating a new watchdog to investigate human rights abuses by Canadian companies operating overseas, fulfilling a Liberal campaign promise.

Canadian companies have long faced accusations of human rights abuses abroad, including gang rapes by security guards at a mine in Papua New Guinea operated by Toronto-based Barrick Gold, and the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 workers who were making clothes for Joe Fresh, a brand owned by Canadian company Loblaws.

Canadian companies employ workers in developing countries to make clothing and mine materials that end up in electronics, but these mines and factories are often subject to lax regulations. When human rights abuses arise, there can be little recourse for complainants due to police corruption and weak justice systems on the ground, and lack of access to remedies through Canada’s courts.

‘RIGHT THING TO DO’

The new ombudsperson’s office will independently investigate abuse allegations against businesses operating overseas, including in the mining, textile and oil and gas sectors. The ombudsperson will have the power to request documents from companies and the power to gather testimony from witnesses. Canada’s trade minister François-Philippe Champagne said the ombudsperson will have “all the tools and resources to ensure compliance.” The watchdog’s recommendations will be made public, and the ombudsperson’s office will have the ability to withdraw government funding from companies.

There will also be a multi-stakeholder body to advise the ombudsperson and the government. That advisory body will include representatives from the mining, oil and gas and apparel sectors, as well as human rights and labour advocacy organizations, and an Indigenous representative.

“I’m adamant that Canada is to be second to none when it comes to business and human rights,” Canada’s trade minister François-Philippe Champagne said Wednesday. “This is not just the right thing to do, but that’s what Canadians expect from us.”

Advocacy organizations have waited more than a decade for this announcement, calling it “long overdue.” But critics are pointing out that the ombudsperson’s mandate will not include investigating environmental violations, which are often wound up in human rights abuses.

ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS

Liberal MP John McKay, who has pushed for mining industry oversight for years, stood next to the minister as he made the announcement. McKay’s private members bill to create a similar ombudsperson’s office was killed in 2010. It was only six votes short of passing.

Similar to the new ombudsperson’s office announced Wednesday, McKay’s bill called for the ability to withdraw government support and funding to companies found to be breaching human rights.

“The only significant difference is that they’re not going to do environmental investigations,” McKay told VICE News of the new ombudsperson. “Not quite sure why they arrived at that decision, but there’s a lot of interaction between environmental rights and human rights.”

Everlyn Guape, who was brutally sexually assaulted by security guards near the Barrick Gold mine in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, told VICE News she wanted to thank everyone who fought for the creation of the ombudsperson’s office.

Locals near the mine have also accused the company of contaminating their river. Guape added that “humanity depends on the environment,” so environmental abuses should also be investigated.

“This coexistence cannot be deliberately ignored by Canadian corporations and the government of Canada,” she warned.

‘INDEPENDENT AND EFFECTIVE’

Reacting to the government’s announcement, Barrick Gold said it supports the “additional accountability mechanism for Canadian businesses operating overseas, focused on dialogue and conflict resolution.”

“We look forward to engaging with the ombudsperson in a transparent and constructive manner, to assure Canadians that mining activities continue to generate economic and social benefits for host communities and governments, while respecting human rights.”

Advocacy organization Mining Watch Canada has been pushing for an effective ombudsperson since 2005, Catherine Coumans, the group’s research coordinator, said in a statement.

“We will continue to press the government to ensure that the ombuds office is independent and effective, and has adequate resources to do its job.”

Coumans added that additional measures still need to be taken, including allowing complainants access to Canadian courts to sue Canadian companies for rights violations overseas, and allowing communities free, prior and informed consent before new resource projects go ahead.

In a Canadian Network on Corporate Responsibility survey before the 2015 election, the Liberals stated they would “set up an independent ombudsman office to advise Canadian companies, consider complaints made against them, and investigate those complaints where it is deemed warranted.”

The Liberals also committed to act on the recommendations of a 2007 National Roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries.

But they have not committed to making Canada’s courts open to legal action from complainants in other countries.

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