PNG’s Marape orders military-police operation in Porgera over illegal mining

Porgera Valley
Porgera Valley . . . Prime Minister James Marape says an incursion by illegal miners "endangers both the lives of illegal miners as well as the mine workers." Image: Richard Farbelini/Mining Technology

PNG Post-Courier

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape has authorised a joint military and police operation in a decisive move to curb the escalating problem of illegal mining in the Porgera Valley.

This action comes in response to the recent surge of unauthorised miners invading the Special Mining Lease (SML) area, posing significant risks to both the trespassers and the official mine workers.

“This is in response to incursions by illegal miners into the SML area,” Prime Minister Marape said.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, he added: “This endangers both the lives of illegal miners as well as the mine workers.

“Last week has seen an extraordinary increase of illegal miners encroaching into the mine area, and uncontrolled movement of people amid so many tribal disputes.”

The decision for a military-police collaboration stems from Friday’s cabinet meeting, underscoring the government’s commitment to maintaining peace and order in the region.

“Cabinet could have called for a state of emergency but decided against this,” Prime Minister Marape explained.

‘Synergising’ military, police
Instead, a targeted call-out order would be issued to “synergise military and police efforts” in restoring peace and normalcy in the Porgera Valley.

Prime Minister Marape issued a stern warning against illegal miners and individuals taking part in unlawful activities, saying, “I want to advise illegal miners and those involved in illegal activities that the long arm of the law will catch up with you.”

In addition to immediate security measures, the Prime Minister unveiled plans for a sustainable solution to verify and manage the local population.

National Identification cards will soon be distributed to all traditional landowners and business proprietors in the Porgera Valley, with special passes provided to other residents.

“This is to avoid an influx of unnecessary people into the Porgera Valley,” he said.

With the recent reopening of the New Porgera Mine, Prime Minister Marape emphasised the critical role of the local community in ensuring the venture’s success.

“The New Porgera Mine is expected to give maximum benefits to landowners. Any illegal
activities jeopardise the profitability of the mine.

“Every citizen of Porgera must take it upon themselves to ensure no illegal trespassing into the mine area,” he said.

Republished from PNG Post-Courier with permission.

The call-out authorisation in PNG’s official National Gazette. Image: PNG Post-Courier



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