‘Let your children live in peace’ plea by PNG’s Marape over Porgera goldmine

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Porgera goldmine . . . in April, tribal violence led to the closure of schools and businesses
Porgera goldmine . . . in April, tribal violence led to the closure of schools and businesses, raising concerns about the safety of people and the mine. Image: Richard Farbelini/Wikipedia/RNZ Pacific

RNZ Pacific

The Papua New Guinea government is calling for local communities in Porgera, Enga province, to end the violence as it works to reopen the Porgera goldmine by September.

In April, tribal violence in Porgera led to the closure of schools and businesses, raising concerns about the safety of people and the goldmine.

As part of efforts to address the issues on the ground and restart the goldmine a security forum was held in Paiam town in Porgera last week.

The Prime Minister’s Office said leaders and security forces appealed to the local warring tribes to end the fighting because of its effects on the mine, businesses and the community.

The government said it is working day and night to ensure the goldmine — closed for four years — is reopened in September so benefits could flow to the people.

Prime Minister James Marape made a direct appeal to the people of Porgera and the surrounding communities to stop fighting and do away with the guns and tap into spin-off benefits from the mine.

“Let your children live in peace and get the benefits from the mine and stop the killings,” he said.

Porgera mine forum in Wabag
He also appealed to all the affected communities, landowners, mine licence areas to bring their issues and grievances and what benefits they would like to get at the new Porgera Mine Development Forum in Wabag next month.

“We want to hear from you. We want to know what you want and how we can share the benefits from our 51 percent stake in the New Porgera Mine,” Marape said.

The national government has also announced a total of 700 million kina (NZ$314 million) for a seven-year infrastructure development grant, which is to also address outstanding issues like resettling of people away from the mine area.

Marape said the first gold and revenue from the new Porgera mine was anticipated by October this year or thereafter.

The national government will issue or sign the mining licence by the end of August this year following the Mine Development Forum.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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