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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 10) – The Papua New Guinea government has embarked on a public awareness campaign to address the problem of illegal miners being killed near mine sites.

This began when the Department of Mining, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) signed a memorandum of understanding last year.

The agreement was a result of a report that was complied by the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) last year.

Members of police mobile squad 13 are carrying out awareness campaigns on the path of the locals near the Porgera gold mine site while providing security at the same time.

Most of the deaths from the sites were reported to be of landowners allegedly shot dead by security officers.

[PIR editor’s note: Papua New Guinea police have filed murder charges in at least one of the numerous deaths that have been reported at the Porgera gold mine in Enga Province by area landowners this year. See exclusive PIR story.]

Deputy Police Commissioner (operations) Gari Baki confirmed the presence of police officers, saying they had also gone through a human rights course conducted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

He said this was to make sure the police officers maintained their constitutional duties and the idea was to conduct a public relations exercise where the locals would be told of the high risk areas and that illegal mining is a crime.

"The idea is to progressively do a heart-to-heart awareness," Mr Baki said, adding an independent observer body was overseeing the operation.

January 11, 2006

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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