PNG Mining Act does not allow women to mine underground: Jerry

 THE Papua New Guinea  Mine Safety Act 1977 does not allow women in the mining industry to work underground, says Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) managing director Jerry Garry.

“The industry employs 16,000-plus employees, so it’s very important to the country,” Garry told the consultation forum on the Mine and Works (safety and health) Bill 2021 in Port Moresby yesterday.

“But then again the law is outdated because of the advances in the industry where new technologies are being deployed to ensure that hazards are minimised. We need to also change our laws.”

He said some of the clauses were not friendly, such as section 23 of the old Mine Safety Act which prohibited female employees from working underground.

“This is one of the laws that must be changed because currently we have a lot of females trained as professional mining engineers and geologists who have been working, but were pulled out because of this law,” he said.

But, he said the mining industry had been exercising best practices to ensure safety during operations.

“The mining industry has been performing well simply because we have adopted what we call the best industry practice or common sense,” he said.

“We have also introduced changes in culture from reactive to proactive approach and we have seen tremendous results.”

He said that 30 years ago, there were an average of 13 deaths a year in mining areas.

This went down to zero death toll in 2017.

Statement/The National / Pacific Mining Watch

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