Security worrying as PNG's Porgera Gold Mine Set to restart

 Papua New Guinea's ENGA Governor Sir Peter Ipatas has accused members of the security forces of failing to stop tribal fighting in the province as the reopening of the multi-billion Kina Porgera mine approaches, the National reports.

“Why are the security personnel (police and soldiers) not doing their job? There seems to be no solution,” he said.

“Take responsibility and initiate more arrests. Enga seems to be a peaceful province because there are no arrests. I am appealing to police this is not only about Porgera but also about the rest of the province.”

Sir Peter sounded his concern during the Progera consultation meeting on Thursday in Wabag, attended by Prime Minister James Marape, Cabinet ministers and senior government officials.

“People think I have the power because I am the governor. But I do not have the power,” he said.

Sir Peter said people “see security personnel driving past with no (plans to) stopping and checking people carrying firearms or offensive weapons”.

“We spend money on police but they are not effective. Why are they not doing their jobs?”

Marape initiated the meeting to discuss benefits to landowners and stakeholders from the mine scheduled to be reopened on Sept 16.

The provincial police commander Supt Ephenes Nili told The National that the police would always welcome the provincial government’s support on policing and logistics.

But he said that when it came to making arrests on those who instigated fights, especially tribal fights, police resources were stretched, especially when people were reluctant to report those responsible.

“In Enga you have hired hands who go into a tribal fight, kill people and run and hide. And the fight continues,” he said.

“Communities know who these people are (but) do not report them. They hide them and allow for more deaths to occur.

“When police respond, the people are too scared to report the matter. The fights are then moved into the jungles that surround the province where security personnel cannot go into.”

Meanwhile Marape said the mine reopening was “one of the best endeavours that the country has ever made because everyone stands to benefit”.

“The decision to close the Porgera mine after the special mining lease expired in April last year was based on our dream of PNG’s economic survival after the closure, or whenever the gold runs out,” he said.

He said the five key points were:

  • THE Government would have the majority shareholding than the operator Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL);
  • WE will not compromise the SML 11. We will operate the new Porgera at SML 11;
  • ANY outstanding liabilities or obligations of the SML 1, we will give indemnity or remove it;
  • ANY entitlement by law, we must still get. We will not compromise on taxes, compensation; and
  • THE new Porgera must be better than the old Porgera.
  • Compared to the PNG LNG (22.5 per cent shareholding) and Papua LNG (30 per cent) projects, PNG has 51 per cent shareholding in the Porgera Gold Mine Joint Venture.
The National / Pacific Mining Watch, Photo supplied 

Previous Post Next Post