K92 Mine Back In Operation
Kainantu gold Mine in Eastern Highlands Province is back into operation with the process plant due to start up today.
The mine operated by K92 Mining Limited was suspended for 48 hours last week after youths from the Bilimoian community blocked the haul road from the process plant to the Company’s Kainantu Gold Mine, demanding the upgrade of the access road to their villages.
Chief executive officer and director, John Lewins said the blockage of the haul road did not halt production at the process plant but did result in mining operations being suspended.
He said the access road in question is not close to the mine and its maintenance would be the responsibility of local government.
Though it is not used by the mine, K92 have started rehabilitation work as one of its community obligation projects. Eastern Highlands Provincial Government had committed funds towards the upgrade but work was disrupted due to wet weather conditions.
Despite these assurances, the youths refused to leave the haul road, forcing police monitoring the situation to moved in and make a few arrests during which one of the demonstrators was injured and required hospital treatment. The arrests led to the blockade being lifted.
However there were concerns that the situation could escalate forcing the company to temporarily suspend operations and removing the majority of the workforce from the site to diffuse the situation.
Mr Lewins said following the intervention of the Bilimoian leadership through the Bilimoia Interim Landowners Association (“BILA”) and local member and Mining Minister Johnson Tuke, the underlying issues have now been resolved.
“Operations are returning to normal and the company does not believe that the incident will have a material effect on production for the quarter. The company notes that the recently announced easing of domestic travel restrictions under the state of emergency should also reduce the impact of the SoE on operational efficiency, allowing more efficient movement of skilled national employees to and from site,” he said.
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