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PNG MP: Mine at fault

Staff Reporter | 7:41 PM | |
LAIAGAM-Porgera MP Nixon Mangape has called on Barrick Gold to implement strategies to stop illegal mining at its Porgera mine.
Illegal mining had become a major concern for the developer, the state and landowners, with an upsurge recently that led to the death of several people, he said.
The deaths were only a few weeks ago when two people were reportedly killed and several others injured.
Mangape said the issue of illegal mining had been created by Barrick that failed to take several important measures such as the relocation of people from the special mine lease areas.
He said the company had failed to accommodate local employees at the camp sites like other national employees and expatriates.
He said local workers had been told to live outside the company camp while others were accommodated on site.
Many relatives of those employees lived with them and turned to illegal mining that led to deaths and injuries, Mangape claimed.
“There are three classes of employees in Porgera. They all do the same kind of jobs and should be treated fairly,” he said.
“If they are serious about addressing illegal mining, then one of the ways is for the developer to accommodate the locals in the camp site to minimise illegal mining activities by the relatives of those employees.
“The illegal mining activities are not done by local landowners but by relatives of employees living within and outside the special mine lease areas.”
Mangape said other actions the company should take was the permanent resettlement of the landowners from the special mine lease areas.
He said Prime Minister Peter O’Neill spelt out clearly during the last parliament sitting that the landowners were illegally living within the special mine lease areas and needed to be resettled by Barrick as it was unsafe.
Mangape said the company should introduce an identification system to scrutinise people moving in and out of Porgera and the mine lease areas.
He said that should help with the setup of an entry and exit point manned by police so that unnecessary people did not enter the mine areas.
Mangape suggested the developer issue 24 security contracts to the 24 landowner clans within the special mine lease areas so they provided security to the company and monitored miners.