Tag Archives: Zijin Mining

Enga landowners say Porgera talks broken down

Radio New Zealand | 28 June 2019

A landowning group at the site of the Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea’s Enga Province says negotiations with the owner Barrick have broken down.

The Canadian company is pushing to renew its contract in August for another 20 year period.

The company has said it had met with senior landowners to discuss their issues.

But the Justice Foundation for Porgera Ltd, which said it represented the bulk of local landowners, said without their commitment any agreement would be worthless.

It said Barrick needed to come to it to negotiate the necessary protocols.

The mine is currently the subject of a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit for damages caused over its 30-year life and PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape has recently committed to ensuring PNG citizens have greater control over their resource wealth.

The contract renewal comes amid unresolved allegations of rape, sexual assault, drownings and shootings at the mine site.

Justice Foundation for Porgera chair Jonathan Paraia said: “Barrick knows full well the vast majority of landowners are sick to death of the human rights abuses, the environmental destruction, the hollow promises”.

He said they were highly offended at the lack of respect Barrick’s CEO has shown towards them while trying to engage them in a significant international mining contract with a 20-year life.

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Porgera Mine Owners Meet New PNG Government About SML Extension

GlobeNewswire | June 4, 2019

Barrick President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow, along with Zijin Executive Director and Senior Vice President George Fang, met today with Papua New Guinea’s new Prime Minister James Marape and reaffirmed the company’s commitment to working with the PNG government and local communities to ensure that the Porgera gold mine continues to deliver value to its stakeholders past the expiry of the current Special Mining Lease on August 16, 2019.

While in the country, Bristow also held meetings with Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas, Porgera landowners, and other stakeholders. 

Since pouring its first gold in 1990, Porgera has paid more than Kina 3.6 billion (US$1.1 billion) in taxes and Kina 1 billion (US$297 million) plus Kina 600 million (US$178 million) in equity cash payments and royalties respectively to the provincial government and customary landowners. This represents a significant contribution to the country’s economy, as well as a substantial amount to the landowners on whose properties the mine is located. An application to extend Porgera’s special mining lease for a further 20 years is currently in progress.

Bristow said Porgera was an important long-term asset for PNG as well as the mine’s owners, Barrick Gold Corporation and Zijin Mining Group.

“The proposed extension to its lease will allow the mine to remain productive for at least another 20 years.  To sustain mine operations, however, it will require a significant capital injection, and it is difficult to justify that kind of investment without the security of an extended mine lease,” he said.

“Barrick believes in true partnership with our host countries, sharing both the responsibilities and the benefits that come with mining. We are engaging with the government to breathe new life into our long-standing partnership, so that Porgera continues to deliver value to all its stakeholders. In our meeting with the Porgera landowners, we invited our stakeholders to join us in continuing to improve the quality of life, security and welfare in the Porgera valley.”

Porgera is a joint venture between Barrick and the Zijin Mining Group, which each owns 47.5% with the remaining 5% interest being held by Mineral Resources Enga (owned equally by Porgera Special Mining Lease Landowners and the Enga Provincial Government). The mine is operated by Barrick (Niugini) Limited.

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Barrick faces pointed questions, protest at AGM

Barrick Gold Corp CEO Mark Bristow listens as Mining Watch Canada’s Catherine Coumans asks a question at the company’s annual general meeting on May 7, 2019. Photo by Alastair Sharp

Alastair Sharp | National Observer | May 8 2019

The concerns of local residents ranging from Papua New Guinea to Tanzania to Dominican Republic near sites where Canadian gold miner Barrick Gold Corp operates were channeled into a single question at the company’s annual general meeting in Toronto on Tuesday.

Some things were different this year; the gathering was helmed by a new president and chief executive, Mark Bristow, and was in a smaller venue (the Tim Horton theatre at the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame on Front St just off Bay) than in previous years under founder Peter Munk, who died in March last year.

But one thing was familiar, to both Bristow and Catherine Coumans, the research coordinator and Asia Pacific lead for Mining Watch Canada: As in previous years, Coumans got to present the case against Barrick’s operations on behalf of those most negatively affected and Barrick’s representative, usually Munk but now Bristow, got to defend the mining giant as a provider of economic opportunity in troubled places.

The official business of the meeting was over within six minutes, and it was then time for questions, at which point a company representative held a microphone out for Coumans to ask the first and only question.

“You can do what you like, Catherine,” Bristow said when she asked whether she should sit or stand. They were clearly familiar; Bristow had been Randgold Resources’ long-time CEO before Barrick bought it in an all-stock deal valuing the Africa-focused miner at $6.5 billion in September last year, Coumans is one of a five-person team aiming to keep Canadian mining companies accountable abroad. She decided to stand.

“It is shameful that year after year since 2008 either I or people affected by your mines from all over the world, have had to stand here to testify to ongoing environmental and human rights abuses at your mines,” she began, reading from a prepared statement.

She cited several allegations from independent investigations — from retired Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie and other members of the Independent Commission of Jurists (regarding Tanzania) and Columbia University’s Earth Institute (regarding the Porgara mine Papua New Guinea) — about excessively violent security guards and unsafe tailings discharge and other alleged abuses at Barrick sites around the world, and asked the new CEO when Barrick would “finally provide local communities with clean drinking water?”

She got in a supplemental as well; will you work with locals in Papua New Guinea to create an equitable remedy mechanism for a litany of complaints as called for by sustainability consultants from BSR that Barrick itself hired to fix its problems?

Coumans first heard of problems at Porgara in 2005, a year before Barrick bought it, and started attending the company’s AGM in 2006. The company dismissed reports the security forces were killing men and raping women as lies, until Human Rights Watch published a report in 2011 that documented five alleged incidents of gang rape by mine security personnel in 2009 and 2010, and a sixth in 2008.

“We believe these incidents represent a broader pattern of abuse by some PJV (Porgara joint venture) security personnel,” HRW said at the time.

Catherine Coumans from Mining Watch Canada stands outside of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, where Barrick Gold was hosting their annual general meeting on May 7, 2019. Photo by Alastair Sharp

“Thank you for that, Catherine,” Bristow said when Coumans was finished. “We all know that this is like an echo. You come every year and you make the same statements. And we deal with it, and the more we deal with it the more you make, repeat the statements.”

He acknowledged that she had visited Porgera and said he would “try to explain to you in three different boxes” his responses to her various complaints.

Tanzania better than it used to be, Bristow says

Firstly to Africa, the continent where South African Bristow had long roamed as chief of Randgold, a previously London-listed company, and now must deal with another tricky situation he inherits there as Barrick’s chief.

The North Mara mine in Tanzania is owned and operated by Acacia Mining, in which Barrick holds a 63.9 per cent stake.

Coumans said alleged victims of rape, house-burnings, chemical spills, shooting and assaults at the hands of guards either employed directly by Acacia or on police or military pay but housed and fed by the mining giant have little recourse to justice. (Mining Watch Canada issued a report in September 2018 based on video interviews accessible here (PDF))

“Sure, there are issues that you refer to,” he said, adding that the overall situation in Tanzania was better now than it was at the end of last century. “There are specific issues, and we’ve dealt with them in the past, and we will always continue to deal with those allegations.”

“The numbers and the specifics that you refer to, those are allegations, they have never been proven to be factual,” he said.

Barrick is meanwhile seeking to play the mediator solving “a difficult problem” between Acacia and the Tanzanian government, which accuses it of tax evasion, environmental breaches, money laundering and corruption.

Bristow stressed that Acacia was independent of Barrick and the majority shareholder did not have unfettered access to its mines. He said he aims to create value for all stakeholders, not just shareholders, but also “the communities in which we operate, the people in the countries we operate and also the government, in the form of the treasury of that government.”

“Now where I come from in Africa I’ve done that for my whole career,” he said. “And today we’ve been able to change people’s lives.”

He said the enlarged Barrick including Randgold and excluding Acacia employs 17,000 people across Africa, providing them with skills and the ability to participate in economic activity.

Bristow “has been working overtime to deal with disputes with the Tanzanian government over a ban of exports of concentrate” and the related allegations, Coumans said in an emailed statement following the meeting, “but has yet to speak out meaningfully about the appalling human rights abuses suffered by many impoverished villagers living in the shadow of the gold mine.”

Bristow, a trained geologist with a straight-talking, hands-on style who had run Randgold since its inception in 1995, acknowledged that the situation in Tanzania was not ideal but did not address them in detail.

The Independent Commission of Jurists said after a visit to North Mara and Tarime, the town closest to the mining sites, that its delegation was “deeply concerned about the gravity of many of the allegations and the difficulties experiences in accessing adequate remedy and reparations.”

The mine is by far the largest investment and economic engine for the region, the ICJ report said, and a major attraction for people migrating into the immediate area, whose population has grown exponentially since the mine was initiated in 1998.

“The prospect of gold predictably created a strong economic magnet that was bound to attract people in search of economic opportunities.” it said. “As company officials themselves acknowledged, the company was slow in putting in place the necessary physical security and measures to avoid human rights abuses and to redress those which occurred.”

“The delegation was struck by the richness of the mine and the poverty of the surrounding area,” the report says. “The mine pays taxes and royalties to the national government and service charges to the local government, but investment in basic infrastructure in the region shows that these payments are insufficient or that the local communities do not adequately benefit from them.”

Porgera, a ‘very, very complicated situation’

Meanwhile at the Porgera open pit and underground gold and silver mine high in Papua New Guinea’s rainforest, which Barrick split into a joint venture with Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd in 2015, complaints from locals have been piling up.

Coumans said the BSR consultants Barrick hired to identify fixes to problems at Porgera released a report (PDF) in September with timelines for action by the company. “No progress has been made to date as proposed deadlines have come and gone,” she said.

“What you failed to point out was we are the ones that engaged BSR,” he said. Coumans had in fact made reference to Barrick having hired BSR.

“We have taken in their research and we are currently working, I am personally involved in that, and we will deal with the issues that have been raised,” he said, providing a specific assurance that the grievance procedure was being improved.

Coumans later told National Observer that an elderly couple had since been badly injured when they were swept away by a sudden increase in discharge of mine tailings from a pipe as they were panning the discharge for scraps of gold at Porgera.

The man and a woman were swept onto sharp rocks and are now in failing health, she said.

An exposed pipe that Barrick uses to dump its tailing into the environment at Porgera in Papua New Guinea and people desperate for an income pan for residual gold in the waste, seen in a photograph from 2017. Photo by Catherine Coumans

Aringiyan Longaip is attended to by other locals after Barrick’s Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea blasted a sudden increase in volume out of a tailings pipe in February, 2019, causing her to be swept away onto nearby rocks. Photo supplied by Catherine Coumans

Low Longaip is attended to by other locals after a sudden increase in volume out of a tailings pipe at Barrick’s Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea in February, 2019. Photo supplied by Catherine Coumans

Bristow said Barrick had dealt with 350 grievances at Porgera in the last quarter alone and that “we have no intention to reject anybody’s concerns.”

“Sure, there are always challenges,” Bristow said, before citing actions he had taken since becoming CEO including the promotion of sustainability chief Rod Beringer to full Barrick executive (he had been contracted by Randgold since 2014, according to this management summary) and the revision of human rights and other policies.

He said Barrick has delivered electricity to the roughly 60,000 people who had come to the immediate vicinity of its Porgera mine and also distributes clean drinking water in the region via more than 1114 water tanks holding 550,000 litres.

“To say that the tailings disposal situation is poisoning the drinking water is not a factual statement,” he said, to which she interrupts to say that was not what the Columbia University report said. (He later cited Barrick’s public response to that report, which can be found here (PDF))

“The solids that are being deposited in the rivers…we have a plan to manage those solids. We don’t have any deleterious chemicals going into the rivers,” Bristow added.

“It’s easy to criticize and it’s not very easy to make a difference,” he said to Coumans at one point. “And when I understand you, what you are trying to suggest is that we should leave.”

Coumans did not at any point in her comment and question suggest that Barrick should leave any of its operations.

Meanwhile, minutes earlier outside in the food court-cum-corporate thoroughfare leading to the hockey museum, a small group of protesters raised banners and chanted their opposition to Barrick’s operations in Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Dominican Republic as they were escorted out of the building by security guards.

A small group of protestors chant outside Barrick Gold Corp’s annual general meeting in Toronto on May 7, 2019. Video by Allan Lissner

Dominican dam ‘a time bomb’, residents say

One of organizers of the flash mob protests also sent National Observer video testimonials and translations from residents near Barrick’s Pueblo Viejo double open pit mine in Dominican Republic, which the company wants to expand to increase production by 50 per cent.

In the videos, the residents express concern about the safety of the mine’s tailings dam, which they say emits substances that irritate their eyes and throats and cause nausea and which they fear could collapse.

“It is a very serious problem to live under this wall,” said Leoncia Ramos in one clip. “Because that is where they dump all the waste of Barrick Gold, all the toxic substances, sulphur, cyanide – all that passes through our communities, causing various diseases, and a number of problems because it destroys the environment.”

Leoncia Ramos speaks about her concerns living close to Barrick’s Pueblo Viejo mine in Dominican Republic. Video supplied by Sukuri Saunders

“For us, it is a time bomb. Why? Because it can collapse at any moment, burying about 600 families who live around here.”

Another resident, identified in the video only as Luvito, said he feared a collapse similar to one in Brazil that killed more than 200 people in January.

“We are terrified. We barely sleep because that’s all we can think about, that it could collapse from one moment to the next,” he said. “The water is coming out from the bottom [of the dam], all the rotten stuff underneath will collapse one day.

Even without a catastrophic incident, residents says the mine is affecting their health.

“We are threatened by the bad smells that come from there when it is raining,” said Sonia Perdomo. “And this… kind of haze that comes up… it really irritates our eyes, makes our throats very sore, gives us headaches, nausea and you feel you get dizzy easily.”

On Wednesday, Barrick issued its first quarter financial results. It said profit in January to March was $111 million, or six cents a share, one-third less than what analysts on average had expected. The figure is also down from a profit of $158 million, or 14 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Bristow told investors and analysts later that the company had identified $1.5 billion worth of assets it plans to clean up and sell off in the next year.

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Theft of resources in Papua New Guinea

Vijay Prasad | Asia Times | May 4, 2019

Few people outside Papua New Guinea know about Porgera. Those who do know about it know that it is one of the centers of international gold mining, with a major company with an innocuous name – Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) – sucking out the enormous deposits of gold from its mountainous landscape.

The Porgera mine is one of the world’s top 10 producers of gold, which makes it remarkably rich – although the people who live near the mine have not shared in the spoils. The proven gold reserves of the Porgera mine are worth more than US$10 billion at today’s gold prices.

This is only one of Papua New Guinea’s mines. There are more that run from one end of the country to another. The population of PNG is only 8 million, which – given such wealth – would suggest that its people lived enriched lives. But this is not the case.

Behind the name PJV sits the Canadian mining company Barrick Gold and the Chinese mining company Zijin Mining. Both are making enormous profits from this mine – and others. Barrick Gold, as a new briefing by the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, “Ten Canadian Mining Companies: Financial Details and Violations,” shows, is worth billions of dollars and has mining operations across the world. It has been the primary owner of the mine from 2006 to 2015. Zijin Mining is one of China’s largest gold producers, which has gradually left Chinese shores to enter joint partnerships abroad.

Last November, lawyers on behalf of the Justice Foundation for Porgera (landowners of the Special Mining Lease Area) filed a suit worth $13 billion against the PNG government. The contracts signed between Barrick Gold and the government prevent any third party from suing the company for anything (this is called a “privity of contract” in legal terms), so the Justice Foundation for Porgera could not directly sue the company. This is why the lawyers – based in Australia – have filed their claim in accord with the rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.

It has taken the lawyers and the plaintiffs seven years to prepare this important suit. It has brought some attention to the situation in Papua New Guinea.

Shooting fields

The main human-rights group in Porgera, the Akali Tange Association, is not part of this lawsuit. The ATA is pushing Barrick Gold to establish a grievance mechanism that responds to the claims of the people. The locals have complained about a range of human-rights violations since 1989, just as the mine was being prepared to start production, but no one listened. In 2004, the ATA – newly formed – focused some attention on the mine and got various international groups to pay attention to the alleged violations of their land and their bodies.

In 2005, the ATA released its first major report, “The Shooting Fields of Porgera Joint Venture.” It documented the killing of 14 people as well as torture and arbitrary arrests of people by the PJV security guards. At that time, the mine was owned by the Canadian company Placer Dome. It caught the attention of Mining Watch Canada, a group formed in 1999 to monitor the activities of Canadian mining companies around the world. Placer Dome did not deny the shootings. But little came of the outcry, largely because Placer Dome sold the mine to Barrick Gold the next year.

Barrick, one of Canada’s largest mining companies, did not provide respite to the population. Conversations with the activists of the ATA and the voluminous files that they have archived show that the violence and the impoverishment continued. Shootings at miners and at activists started almost as soon as Barrick took over. The PNG government conducted an investigation in 2006, in which it heard from witnesses, but no report was issued.

On deaf ears

McDiyan Robert Yapari, one of the leaders of the ATA, worked for a janitorial company that had a contract with the Porgera Gold Mine. He became active in the ATA after his brother, Jerry Yapari, was allegedly murdered by the mine’s guards, who threw rocks on him and crushed him to death. Jerry’s death a decade ago was “terrible,” McDiyan tells me. It inspires his work now to fight for justice in Porgera.

The ATA, McDiyan says, currently has a total of 940 human-rights allegations against the company. These have been filed with the company’s own grievance mechanism. These allegations run from extrajudicial killings to gang rapes to chemical poisoning. Their calls, McDiyan says, “have fallen on deaf ears.”

“We have tried to reach for assistance to air our grievances for everyone to know what a Canadian mining company – the Barrick Gold Corporation – does to the indigenous communities here in Porgera,” McDiyan tells me.

After “The Shooting Fields of Porgera Joint Venture,” the ATA produced two more reports: “Porgera Gross Human Rights Violations” (2017) and “Cost of Gold” (2018). Reading these texts is painful. The first text provided the basis for the US-based non-governmental organization BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) to develop its own report, “In Search of Justice.” The Akali Tange Association is working closely with BSR to push Barrick to accept its 10 – very basic – recommendations. Barrick responded with a media brush-off typical of multinationals, and it canceled a November 2018 meeting with the ATA. McDiyan says that Barrick has made no effort to dialogue with the ATA.

The second text, “Cost of Gold,” carries the correspondence between ATA and various government authorities. It is a one-sided correspondence. The ATA writes into the void, asking for help but not getting much in the way of serious consideration.

The descriptions of the violence are vivid and sincere. Women write of rape as an object to destroy their society, to humiliate the women and create social discord inside families. Routine violence is the order of things, they say.

On March 25, 2017, security guards linked to the mine and the police allegedly burned down 150 homes near the mine, attacked the community and raped at least eight women. McDiyan reported on this case of forced eviction. He was arrested under the cybercrimes law of Papua New Guinea and detained for more than 30 hours. After his release, McDiyan – with community support – fought his case and prevailed. It is one of the few victories in Porgera.

The fight for compensation is an old one. The people – through the ATA’s recommendations – seek compensation not merely to heal their wounds but as a mechanism to assert their dignity. They have taken the toll of the mines and produced powerful demands, which press for a different kind of mining operation. They want to be taken seriously, to make sure that the miners and their families become partners in the production of the gold. They want to enforce environmental rules to prevent the dumping of harsh chemicals into the rivers. They want a hospital in the area to be tasked with dealing with mercury poisoning and the broad impact of the toxic soil produced by the mining techniques of Barrick Gold.

Their demands are clear and reasonable. Neither Barrick/Zijin nor the government of Papua New Guinea has taken them seriously.

On May 12, the Special Mining Lease for the Porgera mine will need to be renewed in Papua New Guinea. Both the lawyers who filed the arbitration case against the government and the ATA, which pursues the reform of the grievance mechanism, are aware of this deadline. No one believes that the government of Papua New Guinea is going to drop Barrick. That is unlikely. In a position paper from last month, the ATA suggests that Barrick is “ignorant and negligent.”

That may be so, but it is also very rich. And its removal of gold has left the Porgerans very poor, and very angry.

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Porgera villagers lack access to good water, study finds

Communities living around Papua New Guinea’s Porgera gold mine lack enough access to clean water to meet their basic needs. Photo: Columbia University

Radio New Zealand | May 1, 2019

Communities living around Papua New Guinea’s Porgera gold mine lack enough access to clean water to meet their basic needs.

They are also exposed to concerning levels of chemicals linked to mine operations, according to a new report ‘Red Water: Mining and the Right to Water in Porgera’.

It’s based on a study by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity of Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

Cressida Kuala from the Porgera Red Wara Women’s Association says she has long suspected that water in the rivers which flow through her village and others in the mine area is unsafe to drink.

“Some times we walk about three or four hours up to the mountains to fetch water, when there’s no water during the dry season. When it rains, we are a little bit scared that it contains chemicals that are being let out from the smoke,” said Cressida Kuala.

PNG communities are exposed to concerning levels of chemicals linked to mine operations, according to a new report ‘Red Water: Mining and the Right to Water in Porgera’. Photo: Columbia University

Ms Kuala had been seeking a response on the problem from the Porgera Joint Venture which operates the mine, but said it had been less than forthcoming about its own data on environmental impacts from the mine.

Meanwhile, she said many people in the local community still used the water from these rivers.

“There’s a lot of uneducated people living in the community. They don’t care if the water is contaminated.. they don’t know.”

The interdisciplinary team of human rights experts and environmental scientists who conducted the study urged the PNG government and the mining companies–Barrick Gold of Canada and Zijin Mining of China–to take action to ensure the human right to water.

“People in Porgera live in fear about whether they will have enough water to last the week and whether their water is poisoning them,” said Professor Sarah Knuckey, Director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and a lead author of the report which can be read here.

“The mine emits a giant red river of tailings waste through the Porgeran Valley. Porgerans often have to wash their clothes, dishes, and bodies in rivers that reek of chemicals.

“All across Porgera, residents told us that they want facts to help them better understand and respond to the water risks.”

Communities living around Papua New Guinea’s Porgera gold mine lack enough access to clean water to meet their basic needs. Photo: Columbia University

Ms Kuala said the water problem was just one of a number of human rights issues that both the miner and government had failed to address in any transparent way over the years.

“They actually know about the issues at Porgera mine… but they just seem to leave the problem behind,” she said.

While Zijin Mining hasn’t yet responded to the report, Barrick has provided a response.

“The mine remains committed to working with the Government and the local communities to find workable solutions,” a Barrick statement said.

“However, this is a matter beyond the sole scope and control of any entity and requires effort on the part of all relevant stakeholders.”

But with the miner looking to have its mine lease renewed this year, Mr Kuala said it had to front up on addressing a litany of problems that have affected many lives of local people.

As well as the health impacts from the mine’s toxic waste, dozens of Porgera women have been acknowledged as victims of rape and assault by Barrick’s former security contractors, but not adequately compensated.

“The company is being held responsible for everything that has gone wrong,” she said. So the company should stay back and work along with the government to fix the problems that have been arising for the thirty years that they were mining the area.”

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Landowner Calls For Investigation Into Warden’s Hearing

Government Urged To Intervene.

Yombi Kep | Post Courier | April 17, 2019

A landowner in Porgera is calling for investigation into the Mining Wardens Hearing held at Paiam Sports Oval in Porgera, Enga Province on Tuesday 2nd April 2019.

Landowner and former member for Lagaip-Porgera, Opis Papo is supporting the allegations made by Justice Foundation Chairman Jonathan Paraia that the illegal miners were unduly influenced to support Barrick Niugini Limited’s application to renew their SML and other tenements.

Mr Papo made the call after reading a report in Post Courier on the 15th of April 2019 at page 25 titled “Barrick refutes claim”.

According to the report Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL), the majority owner and operator of the Porgera gold mine has dismissed an allegation describing it as entirely untrue that it supports illegal mining. Barrick further said they did not condone illegal mining in any form and has consistently sought in cooperation and partnership with the government to discourage people from engaging in this activity which is not only unlawful but extremely hazardous.

However, Mr Papo said that even though everyone in Porgera including Jonathan Paraia and himself do not support illegal mining in Porgera, they are genuinely concerned about the conduct of Barrick in appreciating the illegal miners at the recent wardens hearing at Porgera.

“The illegal miners support for Barrick was never an isolated event, it was done in the full knowledge and active support of Barrick, whereby in front of thousands of people, the media and government officials, the Barrick’s senior manager, Timothy Andambo publically thanked and appreciated the support of the illegal miners in their quest to renew their license to mine for another 20 years.”

He added that the Government must now conduct an investigation into this incident as it has been spending millions of kina since 2009, to police illegal mining in Porgera and developer Barrick has undermined firstly, the government’s costly effort and secondly such conduct may have breached relevant PNG laws.

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Former MP objects to Porgera mine extension

Protest against Barrick Gold

The National aka The Loggers Times | April 8, 2019

BARRICK Niugini Ltd continues to face more objections against it continuing to develop the giant Porgera gold mine in Enga.

Former Lagaip-Porgera MP and Barrick geologist Opis Papo, representing 22 clans along the Porgera River, said he was not given the opportunity to speak and object during last Tuesday’s warden hearing in Porgera.

Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas last week said Barrick’s special mining lease (SML) should not be renewed when it expired in August.

Papo said in a statement that the hearing at Paiam station was marred with violence caused by illegal miners, purported to be engaged by certain groups. He said he earlier wrote to chief warden Andrew Gunua registering his objections as well as those of the clans he represented.

Papo said as a member of four clans – Bipe, Mayuni, Pene and Eno – and with power of attorney given to him in 1995 by 22 clans of the Porgera River area, he objected as required under section 107 of the Mining Act, 1992.

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