Tag Archives: Zijin Mining

Porgera rights activist arrested

Porgera mine. Photo: wikicommons / Richard Farbellini

Radio New Zealand | 24 April 2017

A human rights activist was arrested for allegedly “spreading misinformation” after another attack at the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea’s Enga province.

Out on bail after 30 hours in custody, McDiyan Robert Yapari said police abused him for defaming them.

Mr Yapari’s human rights group, last week, said a person was fatally shot, and another critically wounded in the latest unrest at the controversial Porgera mine.

The Akale Tangi Association said guards opened fire on two people panning for gold on mine property

The mine’s major shareholder, Canadian company Barrick, has been consistently criticised for rights abuses in neighbouring villages, particularly at the hands of security contractors.

Mr Yapari had gone to police to request an investigation into alleged forced evictions by police in the mine area.

He said he was later arrested while being stripped of clothes and belongings, and had his mobile phone confiscated.

Mr Yapari is, this week, to attend a hearing on what is understood to be a charge related to spreading misinformation, or defamation.

Meanwhile, local police hired for security provisions by Barrick have said the Association’s claim that they carried out forced evictions at Wingima without a warrant was biased.

Mr Yapari said his efforts to raise attention to this resulted in his arrest.

“Upon going back to the cell blocks, I wrote an email without fear to Barrick’s Corporate & Legal President Peter Sinclair informing him of my arrest by his company’s hired Police Personnel,” he said.

Mr Yapari said that despite what he claimed was mistreatment by police while in custody, he would not shirk from continuing to raise concern about the abuses at Porgera.

“ATA as an organisation will advocate and without fear of reprisal directly tell or inform of any human rights abuses committed by a corporate, private or public sector when it sees and feels that the local indigenous rights are abused or violated…”

Leave a comment

Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Lack of opportunities cause of illegal mining at Porgera

See also: Yet Another Two Local Indigenous Porgerans Shot by Barrick Hired Security Personnel at Porgera Gold Mine

Mark Haihuie | The National aka The Loggers Times | April 20, 2017
ILLEGAL mining in Porgera, Enga, is the result of a lack of opportunities for locals to participate in small to medium enterprises, according to Porgera Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
President Nickson Pakea was responding to questions from The National on locals taking part in illegal mining activities.
He said the ineffective government presence in the district in creating business opportunities, had created a dependency on the Porgera joint venture for basic services and business opportunities.
“According to the business perspective, the mine area is the land in which the seven clans gave to the developer. It’s the property of the company,” he said.
“If someone enters into this prohibited area then it is criminal.
“The cash flow in the district is mainly from the Porgera mine.
“The Government institutions within the district responsible for the growth of small to medium enterprises and the avenues is all moving backwards.
“The Porgera Development Authority was misused and was closed for more than three years.
“Paiam Hospital closed as well.
“Porgera Health Centre closed with no reflection of government services except the Barrick Porgera joint venture that people of Porgera rely on. The service delivery there is minimal. The non-government organisation groups need to represent the bulk of population on such corruption affecting many lives.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Corruption, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

PNG group claims another attack at gold mine

The Toronto-based mining giant, Barrick Gold, owns roughly 50 per cent of the Porgera Mine

Radio New Zealand | 19 April 2017

A Papua New Guinea human rights group says one person was shot and killed, and another critically wounded in another attack at a controversial gold mine in Enga province.

The Akale Tangi Association, which is based in the area surrounding the Porgera mine, said the incident happened on Sunday, when guards opened fire on two people panning for gold on mine property.

The mine and its major shareholder, Canadian company Barrick, have been consistently criticised for human rights abuses in neighbouring villages, particularly at the hands of security contractors.

The association’s executive officer, McDiyan Robert Yapari, said he had met with local police and written to Barrick about Sunday’s incident, but he had little hope of an outcome.

He said the government and Barrick had for years promised investigations and action to address human rights concerns, but next to nothing had happened on the ground.

“We have written so many letters, the attention of Porgera and gross human rights violations has already reached the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,” Mr Yapari said.

“All these issues of human rights abuse have been raised and Barrick purports to say the company is committed to protecting human rights, but according to us, it is a whole lot of bullshit.”


Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Yet Another Two Local Indigenous Porgerans Shot by Barrick Hired Security Personnel at Porgera Gold Mine

McDiyan Robert Yapari

Once again it really saddens me to notify you all that yet another serious human rights abuse has been once again committed by Barrick Gold Corp and its allies here at Porgera, PNG. 

Despite several attempts to hold Barrick accountable for its previous gross human rights violations, including killings, beatings, raping/ganging, illegal detention and forcefully evictions done so far by Barrick Gold Corp at Porgera Gold Mine, the Barrick hired Security Personals and PNG Mobil Squads have shot two young man aged between 23 and 26 in the early mornings of April, 16th 2017.

One of the young man died instantly while the other sustained serve injuries and is fighting for his life at a hospital.

Upon receiving the news, I have personal attended the scene where the decease’s relatives were hosting funeral services and interviewed some locals there and found out that these two young men were panning for gold at the PJV’s Open Pit when they were allegedly shot by Barrick Hired Security Personals and PNG Police Mobil Squads.

I further interviewed a young man who had accompanied these victims and he said that they (including the victims) were panning for gold bearings ores at the PJV Open Pit and all of a sudden two Toyota Land Cruiser white in colour, fully loaded with Police and Security Personals appeared and had open fired directly at them.

He further added that he was at least 5-6 meters away from the other two and while he was still watching, a Security Personal pointed his high powered gun (Sig-riffle) directly at the deceased and shot him. After noting that the deceased was shot, he fled for cover and heard several other gun shots too. He also said that he was shot too many times but fortunately, he missed all the bullets.

After sometimes later about 30 to 40 minutes, he called for help and other alluvial miners came to where he was. The alluvial miners mobilized themselves and went to see what had happened to the deceased and the other person whom he had left.

Upon arrival at the scene, they found out that the deceased was shot at his head and the bullet penetrated right through his forehead. He further added that the other alluvial miner was shot at his lower abdomen and was bleeding very severely.

After noting this, they rescued the injured personal and carried the death corps to their home village.

Supplementary to this incident, I have written to Barrick’s President and its Senior Managements of a forced eviction, rape and assaults of several indigenous people on the March 25th and Barrick has responded and said that they will set up an investigation into the allegation, however; nothing has been done since today.

I did all my best to raise these and other similar abuses and had alarmed the Barrick to provide remedies but Barrick is so stubborn and too ignorant.

I belief all avenues to address, mitigate and prevent such human rights abuses are exhausted now. Also, the Barrick created Operational Level Grievance Mechanism is ineffective, manned with incompetent personals.

I now call upon Barrick to seriously looking into these human rights allegations and promptly respond without delay.

We at Porgera are fed up of Barrick’s assurances of “will do, we are working on it, we are committed to respecting human rights and other such bushtits.”

Also, I now appeal to the Government of PNG and Canada to intervene and look into these allegations seriously.


Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Claims of human rights abuses near a PNG goldmine

The aftermath of the Porgera fire. Photo: Supplied/ McDiyan Robert Yapari

Dateline Pacific | Radio New Zealand | 7 April 2017

A Canadian mining giant is again under the spotlight following allegations of police brutality during the forced eviction of villagers near their gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

Barrick Gold claims to have taken steps to address an appalling record of decades of violence at the Porgera Mine.

But a spate of recent allegations has some asking whether it’s doing enough.

Jo O’Brien reports

There are conflicting accounts of the police operation at Wangima village near the Porgera mine in late March. Cressida Kuala from the Porgera Red Warra Women’s Association believes nineteen houses were burnt down in the early morning raid.

“Children and women woke up at around 4 o’clock in the morning. The police personnel who were hired by the company, Barrick PJV went up to the village and chased them out of the area.”

The chairman of the Akali Tange Association Langan Muri says up to 50 houses were destroyed in the village, where about 100 homes were burnt down in two previous raids. He says they’ve received allegations police raped at least three girls during the latest operation and assaulted others.

“Police freely walked into the houses while they were sleeping and they have raped. The victims are still coming everyday to report to us. Some schoolgirls have been raped inside the houses.”

Locals believe the raid was ordered by Barrick Gold, the co-owners of the Porgera Mine. The company has yet to respond to RNZ International’s request for comment, but in a letter posted on its website it’s denied any involvement or prior knowledge of the operation. The independent monitor of policing activities in the area Ila Geno backs up their claim that police conducted the raid under a court warrant after evidence of illegal activity was found there.

“The perception that the police are paid by the company and subsequently they are also ordered by the company to do those things. But from my independent observation point of view police are not commanded by the company to carry out operations.”

But Sarah Knuckey, the director of the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, says the exact nature of the relationship between Barrick Gold and police at the mine is unclear.

“There is apparently a written agreement between the government, police and the company but it’s never been made public and when you speak to police there, they say their accommodation, their food, their fuel is funded by the company. But it’s not easy to tell what the command structure is for the operations.”

 And for Catherine Coumans from MiningWatch Canada, Barrick’s denials are problematic.

“If the company really didn’t have any knowledge that this was going to happen then it clearly needs to question why this gross violation of human rights on the company’s mine lease area, without the company knowing about it. And if the company did know about it then the company needs to come clean and account for why it’s asking police to carry out these raids.”

In the past few years Barrick Gold has undertaken measures to address longstanding concerns about abuses at the mine. Compensation has been paid to more than 130 women for acts of sexual violence and gang rape committed by security guards and police. Cressida Kuala says that remedy for victims is not enough and not everyone has been compensated. But she says steps by the company to improve training of security personnel had been making women feel safer – until now.

“Barrick is trying its best to train its police and the security on human rights disciplines. And it looks like police are aware of the human rights laws and still they are going ahead to do these things. I don’t know why. The police said they were just doing their duties on Barrick’s order.”

Sarah Knuckey from Columbia Law Schools says steps Barrick has announced such as improving the training, monitoring and reporting structures of police have been good on paper. But she says they’re still seeing serious allegations of violence at the mine and there needs to be more transparency about what the company is actually doing to respond to them.

“Over the last few years we saw a noticeable improvement. People reported feeling safer. However recently there’s reports of the village burning as well as the accompanying physical and sexual assaults. There’s also another report of a different set of sexual assaults two weeks prior and of assaults last year that the company has never responded to.”

Independent policing monitor Ila Geno, whose position is financed by the Government and Barrick Gold, says he’s also very concerned about human rights. He says the company is addressing the issue but individual police officers must also take responsibility.

“Training is adequate but the individual police application, that’s an issue where individual competency of a police officer in complying with those instructions.”

But Tyler Giannini, a director of the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic, says much more needs to be done to stop the cycle of violence. He says divisions between the company and the community run deep and trust needs to be built.

“Any complaint mechanism that they create needs to actually address all of the problems that the community has faced not only sexual violence, but also killings, assaults and deeper environmental issues that have been longstanding in the community. Until that happens I think you’re not going to have a stable development situation in the area.”

Human rights advocates are calling for the relocation of the 50,000 to 60,000 villagers who live near the mine. Sarah Knuckey says people tell her they are living like dogs and pigs just a few metres away from its factories.

“People are frequently sitting in tailings waste from the mine. They drink water out of blue buckets. They’re full of mosquitoes and dust and leaves. In many villages all night long you can hear the sound of the trucks very loud. The children find it very hard to get to sleep.”

Ms Knuckey says everyone who lives at the mine feels the “injustice of being the original owners of the land and the gold underneath it and seeing it literally being flown out of the country” while they live in squalor. She says the Canadians who own Barrick Gold would never accept such terrible conditions for their own families.


Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Canadian miner urged to condemn violent evictions in PNG

Radio New Zealand | April 6, 2017

A US human rights community says a Canadian mining company must condemn the violent eviction of villagers near its goldmine in Papua New Guinea.

A local human rights organisation, the Akali Tange Association claims police raped and assaulted villagers and burned down houses during an operation near the Porgera Mine.

The association has also accused the mine co-owners Barrick Gold of ordering the operation late last month.

The company has denied any involvement but Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic Director Sarah Knuckey said it must go further.

“The company Barrick Gold must immediately make a statement condemning the violent evictions and especially the practice of burning down homes and the alleged assaults. And then it should suspend its support for the police units involved,” said Sarah Knuckey.

Sarah Knuckey said their needs to be a truly independent investigation into the operation and its findings must be made public.


Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Facts of police raid on village near PNG mine disputed

Photo: Supplied/ McDiyan Robert Yapari

Radio New Zealand | 31 March 2017

A human rights group in Papua New Guinea is sticking to its allegation that a Canadian mining company is behind a police raid near the Porgera gold mine last weekend.

The Akali Tange Association now says about 50 houses were burnt down in the operation and that police raped and assaulted villagers.

The mine co-owners Barrick Gold deny any involvement and dispute the number of homes that were destroyed.

Barrick says the operation was conducted under warrants issued by the Porgera District Court after drugs and evidence of other illegal activity was found there.

The company says police had notified individuals the temporary structures would be removed in advance of the operation.

It says its investigating the incident and encourages the Akali Tange Association to produce names of victims of abuse.

The association’s Chairman Langan Muri talked to Jo O’Brien.

LANGAN MURI: Barrick-hired police have burnt down the houses up there, around 50 houses almost. That same village has been burned down previously and it adds up to more than a hundred. We believe that area belongs to Barrick. Any operation or whatever happens in that area has to be reported to Barrick. Barrick is supposed to know in advance before the police operations in those areas. So that operation up there in Wangima village is illegal and it’s abuse by the police personnel and Barrick.

JO O’BRIEN: Barrick are now saying that 18 structures were removed and that they didn’t know anything about the police operation?

LM: They should say 18 but it’s like they want to cover up the previous houses burnt in that same village. And now the incident happened again, and the police broke into the area and they seem to be saying that the Magistrate of Porgera has given them an order but it’s nothing to do with PNG Government because that area is leased area of Porgera Joint Venture. And Porgera Joint Venture is supposed to be giving instructions to policemen to walk down into the area, to burn down, do any operation in there. But why should the Magistrate of Porgera giving orders to burn down that village. Barrick is giving us false information that it’s Government that’s doing it, but actually it’s not Government. I want Barrick to relocate the entire village living around the area. Let the mining activities go ahead, people and pets, children playing around the mine site and company seems to be saying illegally trespassing and police every now and then shooting people, raping people, burning down houses. And I strongly call on the national Government and Barrick to relocate the people living around the areas.

JO: Your association initially said there were 150 houses burnt down. Do you mean that was including previous operations as well or was that all on the weekend?

LM: Exactly total previous up to 150 plus.

JO: So you’re saying there were 50 houses burnt down at the weekend is that right?

LM: Exactly.

JO: The allegations about rape and violence, what can you say about that as to what happened over the weekend?

LM: Police walked into the houses while they were sleeping and they raped. The victims are still coming every day to report to us. Some school girls were being raped inside the houses while they were fast asleep.

JO: Do you have an idea of how many people were raped or beaten?

LM: Three have reported already to us, three school girls who have been raped. I couldn’t give you the exact number because  people are still coming and when I am finalised with how many people were assaulted and raped I will give you figure.

JO: Barrick are saying that they were not aware that this operation was happening. But how do you know then that they are responsible?

LM: Barrick seems to be saying that permission was granted from a Magistrate up at Porgera but that area is a special mining lease for Barrick. Police officers, mobile squad and they are hired by Barrick so they are living in Barrick camps. It’s believed that Barrick has done is given a command to these employees because they are hired, paid and they are sleeping in the camps and it’s like employee of Barrick.

1 Comment

Filed under Human rights, Papua New Guinea