MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Barrick forces hand of Papua New Guinea Government in reopening Porgera

Published by MAC on 2021-04-09
Source: MiningWatch Canada, Justice Foundation for Porgera

Local landowners have been adamant that they want to see the back of this controversial company.

Barrick has been a leading partner in the Porgera Joint Venture mine for 14 years, during which severe environmental impacts, including riverine tailings disposal, have continued to characterize the operations, and the social “legacy issues,” including brutal human rights abuses committed by the mine's private and public security forces, have deeply angered the local indigenous landowners.

See also:

2020-07-14 Barrick Gold again battles with PNG government
2020-05-18 PNG: The ongoing struggle over the lease for Barrick's Porgera mine
2020-04-26 Papua New Guinea refuses lease extension for Barrick's Porgera mine
2020-01-18 Barrick Gold battles with Papua New Guinea's citizens and government

𝗣𝗢𝗥𝗚𝗘𝗥𝗔 𝗟𝗔𝗡𝗗𝗢𝗪𝗡𝗘𝗥𝗦: 𝗪𝗘 𝗧𝗢𝗢𝗞 𝗕𝗔𝗖𝗞 𝗣𝗢𝗥𝗚𝗘𝗥𝗔, 𝗪𝗛𝗬 𝗚𝗜𝗩𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗜𝗧 𝗕𝗔𝗖𝗞?

ᴹᴱᴰᴵᴬ ᴿᴱᴸᴱᴬˢᴱ ⁻ https://www.facebook.com/justicefoundationforporgera/

⁰⁷ᵗʰ ᴬᵖʳᶦˡ, ²â°²¹

The landowners of the Porgera Special Mining Lease Area are calling on the Prime Minister Hon James Marape to stop his plan to give Porgera Mine back to Barrick.

We say this in response to Prime Minister’s recent announcement that the State and Barrick are set to sign a purported agreement to reopen the Porgera Gold mine this month.

We note that the announcement by the Prime Minister comes after a lengthy negotiation between the State and Barrick at the exclusion of the landowners.

We have given several notices to the State and Kumul Mineral Holdings Ltd (KMHL) to consult the landowners but they have miserably failed to consult the landowners and now we hear of an agreement to be executed, the terms of which were negotiated behind closed doors in isolation from us.

We are aware of certain former and current politicians are mounting pressure and pushing the government to bring back Barrick to continue to operate the mine. We are aware that these politicians are alleged to have interests, especially contracts with the mine.

One specific case in point is the Enga Provincial Government (EPG) who hires out vehicles to be used for the security operation of the mine.

We have also been aware of the allegations of certain former prime ministers and government ministers who have had contracts in the mine, through their companies registered offshore, especially in Australia, since the operation of the mine in 1989.

We ask the Prime Minister to liaise with the Australian government to cause a joint investigation into the conduct of these former and current politicians who have corrupted this nation by such practices.

We ask the PM to refrain from listening to these corrupt former and current politicians, and continue to pursue your Take Back PNG policy by allowing Porgera to be owned and operated by KMHL, the provincial government, the landowners and a third party who is willing to participate on our terms.

We are at this point very concerned that the State intends to execute an agreement that was negotiated without the consultation and participation of the landowners. The State is in breach of the Constitution and the Mining Act 1992 (as amended).

We have written to the State Solicitor to refrain from giving legal clearance to the State to execute any agreement with Barrick, because KHML and the State have breached the law in not consulting the landowners.

We finally call upon our Prime Minister to at least be responsible and give some regard to our demands we have been communicating to you on several occasions, one of which is that “Barrick Must Not Return to Porgera.”


Barrick Forces Hand of Papua New Guinea Government in Reopening Porgera Mine

Catherine Coumans - MiningWatch Canada

April 6, 2021

Referring repeatedly to legal threats by Barrick Gold Corp., Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea (PNG) released a statement on April 5, announcing that his government will be making a deal with the company in regard to the Porgera Joint Venture gold mine.

Barrick started negotiating for a 20-year renewal of its mine permit as early as June of 2017. But even after the mine’s existing 30 year permit expired in August of 2019, the PNG government stuck with its decision not to grant Barrick a permit renewal, citing environmental impacts and other legacy issues.

Barrick has been a leading partner in the Porgera Joint Venture mine for 14 years, during which severe environmental impacts, including riverine tailings disposal, have continued to characterize the operations, and the social “legacy issues,” including brutal human rights abuses committed by the mine's private and public security forces, have deeply angered the local indigenous landowners.

Even after Barrick initiated legal action in PNG, as well as starting international arbitration in July of 2020, the PNG government maintained its fundamental right to determine whether or not Barrick should be granted extended access to the lucrative ore body.

“It seems that the legal pressure Barrick has maintained on the COVID-19-ravished state has finally worn down the resolve of the PNG government to chart a course for the mine without Barrick,” said Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada. 

“It will be important to see what kind of deal Barrick has offered local landowners, as most have been adamant that they want to see the back of this controversial company. Our partners in particular want to know that human rights claims for victims of violence by mine security will finally be dealt with equitably.”

 

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