MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Probe looms for mine deaths

Published by MAC on 2005-05-06

Probe looms for mine deaths

The National, Papua New Guinea

6 May 2005

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare may consider opening an inquiry into the deaths at the Porgera Gold Mine in the Enga province.

Sir Michael told Parliament he would seek answers about the killing of 29 people at the mine from the Police Commissioner, and if he was not satisfied, he would set up a commission of inquiry to look into the deaths.

There have been allegations that the killings were done by security guards employed by the mine operator, Porgera Joint Venture.

The Prime Minister was responding to concerns about the deaths by Wabag MP Sam Abal. Mr Abal said PJV had done a great job with its gold production, but the killing of 29 people was an important issue which could impact on the future of the mine.

Sir Michael said news of the killings were a concern. He said he has not received a report from the police about the deaths to date.

"We want to know why they are killing those people, and whether the law allows them to do that." He said there appears to be foreign tactics, because 29 deaths was too many for one mine area.

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