Recruitment situation at Porgera Mine in PNG

Statement by Barrick (Niugini) Limited

Port Moresby, 07 th January 2023 – Barrick (Niugini) Limited (BNL) would like to clarify that Porgera Mine  remains in Care and Maintenance and the current limited rehiring of a specially skilled workforce is only to assist  with ongoing maintenance work at the mine.

A protest was held in Porgera on Friday claiming that BNL’s current recruitment process was improperly overlooking  unemployed locals within the Special Mining Lease area. BNL completely rejects those inaccurate claims.

Since the mine was placed into Care and Maintenance in April 2020, BNL has invested more than one billion kina  in good faith in the hope and expectation that the various contractual and regulatory conditions for the reopening of  the Porgera mine can be satisfied to allow for the restart to occur. While those conditions have not yet been satisfied, in preparation for restart BNL has approved limited maintenance work on plant infrastructure, repair of  mobile equipment, and rehabilitation work on the open pit and underground areas.

The ongoing maintenance at site requires highly skilled and experienced personnel to ensure operational readiness  is maintained. BNL’s recruitment policy is based on transparency and best practice and gives first preference to skilled and experienced workers with a good track record who are based in Porgera. Due to the limited pool of  local workers that meet the necessary requirements for the current ongoing work, however, we have had to rehire  a small number of skilled workers from beyond Porgera, within Enga and PNG. These workers are on short-term contracts.

BNL is aware that certain individuals have been creating false expectations of employment by unskilled Porgeran youth and spreading baseless claims of inappropriate hiring practices by BNL. No evidence has been put forward  by those making these claims. BNL will always seek to recruit first locally as it is the best business option for New  Porgera and in our interest to do so. The current maintenance work, however, requires specific skillsets so that safety and other requirements are properly complied with. As with any other professional organization, BNL will  not recruit persons with an unsatisfactory employment or community history.

Once the mine restarts, New Porgera will recommence the historically successful Job Ready Program (JRP) for  the benefit of Porgeran youth. JRP provides the best avenue for inexperienced local youth to enter the mine  workforce and has produced skilled miners who are now employed at Porgera, as well as at other mines in PNG  and overseas. It is also incumbent on local leaders to work with Government and other stakeholders to invest in  training and other opportunities for Porgeran youth. 

Any threat to the Porgera mine assets or our employees and contractors will be immediately referred to the relevant  authorities. BNL will not hire persons involved in such activities. More generally, restoration of law and order should  be the priority for all Porgera stakeholders to ensure Government services are restored and businesses, including  Porgera mine, can operate safely and profitably. New Porgera provides an opportunity to build a new thriving and  sustainable economy for Porgera that that will outlive the life of the mine and benefit the community long into the future. BNL urges all stakeholders of New Porgera, especially landowners, to work cooperatively to enable that  future to become a reality.


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