PNG LANDOWNERS CALL FOR REVIEW OF PORGERA MINE

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Provincial authorities criticized for dragging feet

By Peku Pilimbo PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 27, 2010) – In Papua New Guinea, the Porgera-Mt Kare Young Generation Association (PMKYA) has blamed Enga politicians and local landowner leaders for not helping to start the mining review into the Porgera mine.

The mine has been in operation for many years and there had been no reviews to include all the landowners to benefit from and they have been left watching from the sidelines.

[PIR editor’s note: According to "Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources, 2010", the Porgera gold mine is operated by subsidiaries of the largest gold mining company in the world - Canadian-based Barrick Gold Corporation, which holds 95 percent of shares in Porgera Joint Venture (PJV). The Enga provincial government owns 2.5 percent and landowners the remaining 2.5 percent. The company in 2005 admitted to killings at the Porgera site, where scavenging landowners have reportedly clashed with mine security workers. See story. In 2008, the Porgera mine produced 627,000 ounces of gold worth approximately US$546 million.]

PMKYA president Jonah Puli Kipu said the mine agreement that was signed in 1989 needs to be reviewed and he was happy with Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare for supporting the review exercise.

He said Sir Michael’s intervention into the current mine agreement review was good to help the future generation of the country. Mr. Kipu said on October 1, 2003 the office of Prime Minister and the National Executive Council paved the way to establish the overdue mine agreement review clauses and he was happy with the current government for thinking about landowners.

"During the mine operations over the last 20 years, there have been inconsistent, indecisive and compromising leadership. Few Enga and Porgera leadership that ruled the giant world class Porgera mine have differed in quality, style and character, Mr. Kipu said. "Over time and for different reasons, close adherence to leadership responsibilities, values, principles and directions slowly gave way to the desire for power, statues and personal gains and wealth. "Consequently, in regards to the national constitution, the national directive processes were openly abused and manipulated for personal gains using the funds derived from the Porgera mine," Mr. Kipu said.

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