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Reopening of Porgera Mine Put On Hold



Because local landowners are claiming billions of kina in compensation amidst talks with Kumul Mineral Holdings Limited (KMHL), Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL), and the state, the world-class Porgera mine in Enga Province may not reopen yet.

According to Prime Minister James Marape and Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke, the mine may reopen in due time.

Earlier this year, the Tuanda Incorporated Land Group (ILG) filed a K8 billion lawsuit against BNL and the State on claims of human rights violation, environmental damages, and legacy issues at the Waigani Human Rights Courts. Tuanda ILG chairman Sol Taro is set to fight for the compensation.

Some of the occurrence regarding this matter that happened recently included the claim of the Justice Foundation for Porgera Limited against BNL for US$13.28 billion, and the Lower Porgera Landowners demanding the settlement of K3.8 billion on environment legacy issues from BNL before the re-opening of the mine. In addition, the Porgera River Alluvial Miners Association also lodged a claim against BNL for K3,813,173,889 for the environmental damage and the Pogera River socio-economic impact for the past 30-years.

“The fact that our people have no compensation agreement with BNL to confirm our case, this is the time we make our stand to inform the State and the Porgera mine developer to compensate the people before the mine re-opens,” Mr Papo said.

He said that if the developer and the state don’t meet the demands, the construction of a tailings dam should be implemented, as well as ensuring the safety of the people and the environment.

In spite of all of these claims, the BNL and the State through the Conservation Environment Protection Authority and Mineral Resource Authority state that there were no legacy issues.

Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Wera Mori recently said that both past and previous mine developers operated under the environmental permit. He said that the socio-economic and massive environmental impacts had legal issues but they were operating under the law and that there was nothing to comply with.

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