Leaders call on Govt to address Porgera lawlessness

Two community leaders in Porgera, Enga Province, have renewed their calls to the National Government and the Police Minister to address the rising lawlessness in Porgera.

This follows the killing of a woman and clashes between illegal miners at the Porgera gold mine site.

Porgera mine operator, Barrick Niugini, has also called for Government intervention.

On Sunday 23rd December, 2019, the Porgera Mine security personnel and Royal PNG Constabulary officers recovered the body of a woman who died of significant injuries, including gunshot wounds. These injuries were allegedly caused by tribal enemies from Tari in Hela Province.

On Monday 24th December, violent gunshots were exchanged between warring groups of illegal miners, also alleged to be from Tari, at the Special Mining Lease area.

President of the Porgera Women in Business, Elizabeth Iarume, was saddened by the killing of the woman, and called on leaders at the national and provincial levels to see the suffering in the villages.

President of the Porgera Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nickson Pakea, said SMEs were greatly affected with the increasing use of high powered guns in the community.

The leaders said following the visit by Police Minister, Bryan Kramer, there were talks of a State of Emergency (SOE) but nothing has been done to date.

Meanwhile, BNL has called for urgent Government intervention after prolonged violent conflict between armed warring factions of illegal miners in the mine’s open pit.

Bodies of three illegal miners were recovered from the scene, while another suffering gunshot wounds to the legs was taken in for treatment.

BNL says it is appalled by the level of lawlessness that is continuing to pervade the Porgera district, and is concerned by the senseless killing and the use of firearms by warring groups of illegal miners from other areas. 

The company says it remains ready to support the government’s commitment to a long-term solution for Porgera’s law and order problems.

(Some of the large group of illegal miners walking inside the Mine’s premises along the fenceline on 25 December 2019)

Press release