Mine Landowners in Papua New Guinea claim breach of agreement by Barrick Gold

Port Moresby - Post Courier : Disgruntled landowners of Porgera gold mine held a protest demonstration during the Mining Warden hearing held last Thursday in Paiam, Porgera, Enga Province against the mining operator’s failure to follow the contract that was signed nearly 30 years ago.

Chanting, ‘Barrick out’ a large number of people attended the protest held against Toronto-based Barrick Gold for not giving them what rightfully belongs to the Porgera Special Mining Lease (SML) landowners.

The protestors led by the Justice Foundation of Porgera said that Barrick Gold, the Canadian corporation that is the world’s largest gold mining company has failed to fulfill some of the agreements that were signed in a memorandum of agreement in 1990.

Chairman of Justice Foundation of Porgera Ltd Jonathan Paraia said that the Porgera Gold mine has been operating for 30 years but has failed to comply with some of the benefits in the agreement.

“Over the years, those things promised in the agreement were not delivered. And now the landowners will serve a notice of dispute as well as claim for breaches of agreement.”

He said that they will take it up to the government to address it before they renew the mining lease next year.

“We are going to submit our notice of dispute and we have nominated an arbitrator to arbitrate it, we are just waiting for the government to agree to that arbitrator who is from Australia.”

Mr Paraia said that after the government agrees to the arbitrator, they will proceed with the arbitration process under the current agreement.

Meanwhile, he alleged that apart from the destruction of their livelihoods, environment and river systems, the company owes the SML landowners US$40 billion.

“Barrick did not comply with our existing agreement under the mining development contract which they are supposed to do certain things and they have failed to do that and the landowners have lodged claims for US$40 billion through the government because their agreement is with the government.”

He said that the government is protected under the intermediate clause.

“So if such claims go in through the government than the national government will pay for that.” he added.
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