Mapu: Porgera Closure Affects Surrounding Communities
The closure of the Porgera gold mine has caused its people to feel the pinch.
“We are feeling a lot of effects such as power outages, deteriorating roads, businesses shutting down and many schools and aid posts closed,” said acting district administrator Jerry Mapu, who added that the Paiela-Hewa local level government had all but closed down with an aid post the only service still open.
“Public servants do not want to come and work here,” he said. “We are the only ones here working.”
Mapu said that all stakeholders needed to learn their lesson.
“The Government, company and landowners must come to a round table discussion to discuss some way forward for the future of Porgera,” he said. “Otherwise, we don’t have a future. We are suffering. The bulk of the population is suffering.”
According to the district administration, the district indirectly and directly benefits from the mine. The impact of the closure had doubled the effects that the people feel, he said.
“The bad road conditions from Wabag to Porgera has also made it difficult for businesses and trucks to bring in services such as fuel and others,” Mapu said. “It is also hard to travel, how can teachers, doctors and workers get here? It’s important that the Government gives priority to Porgera for the maintenance of the road.”
School fees was another challenge as landowners and beneficiaries of the mine’s SML trust fund had lost their means of paying for their children’s education, among other things. He added that the government should make a decision fast to solve these problems.