The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Enga Province says the national government and operators of the Porgera gold mine need to look at relocating people who live within Porgera’s Special Mining Lease, SML, area.
This comes after police burnt down what they say were around 50 illegal shacks within the SML area as part of an ongoing operation to counter Porgera’s recent upsurge in crime, particularly illegal mining.
However a group of local landowners say 300 legitimate homes were destroyed in the operation and are taking legal action against the state.
The Governor Peter Ipatas says that the unique situation of having local people living within the mine area will continue to cause problems unless they are relocated.
“Because obviously we have got this wantok system here in the province, in this country, that you feel obligated to look after your relatives. And what happens is that some of these relatives are people who are illegal miners. It’s very hard for landowners to tell them to leave.”