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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 11) – Illegal mining at the Porgera gold mine is a serious worry which must be delt with immediately by all stakeholders including the National Government.

Minister for Defence Bob Dadae and Western Highlands Governor, Tom Olga said this after visiting the mine at the weekend. They said that illegal mining was causing major concerns for the smooth operation of the project.

After touring the open pit mine and witnessing illegal miners going about their illegal activities, the two leaders said the problem was serious and warranted urgent action by all stakeholders concerned. They said as concerned leaders, they would raise the matter with the Government on their return to Port Moresby and support whatever action was decided on to solve the problem.

The two leaders visited the mine after officially opening new facilities at the PNG Defence Force engineering battalion’s base at Kerowil near Banz in the Western Highlands last week.

They were accompanied by their chief advisers, Defence Secretary Frederick Punangi and Western Highlands provincial administrator, Michael Wandil.

The ministerial entourage which also included Mr Dadae’s wife Hannah was given a briefing on the Porgera Joint Venture by the acting general manager, Dennis Hoof and his senior management before they toured the open pit.

Minister Dadae and Governor Olga who visited the mine for the first time were surprised and overwhelmed by the enormity of the operation and the activities that took place.

They said they were also shocked to see illegal miners climbing steep rock walls to look for gold, putting their lives and those of the PJV employees at great risks and pledged to support any action taken by the stakeholders to put an end to these illegal activities.

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