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Calls for Tax Free Redundancy for Employees at PNG's Porgera Gold Mine

TAX FREE REDUNDANCY FOR EMPLOYEES

The Porgera Mining and Allied Workers Union (PM&AWU) is calling on the Papua New Guinea  to consider tax free redundancy for the 2,700 employees of the Porgera gold mine who have been made redundant recently.

Barrick (Niugini) Limited (BNL) announced on Wednesday 24 June that it had been forced to end the employment of majority of its workers who will be retrenched over the coming weeks following the Government’s decision not to extend its special mining lease.

The retrenchment exercise will cost BNL over K180million.

At a public gathering at Paiam on Friday 26th June, the Union executives communicated to resident and local mine employees that they will be requesting audience with the Prime Minister and the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) to consider tax exemptions on the redundancy payments.

Union President, Dassil Mangapen said 2700 people have been made jobless at such a time when the economy is tough compounded by the challenges of Covid-19.

“Now is the time for us to work together and not to point fingers. Over the production life of the mine we have paid so much through taxes already and so our redundancy payouts should not be taxed as this situation is a direct result of the government’s decision,” Mr. Mangapen said.

He appealed for corporation and support, calling also for the Enga provincial leadership to support the cause of the Union and the Porgera mine employees.

“We now have 2700 mine workers who are left jobless and the government has to do something about helping the mine workers in this situation.

“The Prime Minister has continuously reiterated ‘short term pain for long term gain’ and the Porgera mine employees are now feeling that pain. As a responsible government, what plans does it have to rescue the now 2,700 jobless mine employees,” Mr Mangapen said.

The Union expressed that it has never been confronted with such a situation before and as such is seeking all the advice and guidance to assist the Union and workers through this process.

Most of the 116 expatriate employees have already been retrenched and 2,650 Papua New Guinean nationals will have their employment terminated prior to the end of July.

Barrick Gold Corporation President and Chief Executive, Mr. Mark Bristow, said the government had repeatedly refused to enter into meaningful discussions about the issue and the fact that the mine is not operating and therefore not producing revenue, had created a financially untenable situation for the company.

Mr. Bristow said only essential services personnel required for the care and maintenance program will be retained to ensure the safety of the community, the environment and the mine infrastructure.

Picture: The Porgera Mine, Enga province (sourced from mining.com)

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