|Children standing in toxic tailings near Barrick's Porgera mine in PNG. Photo: Catherine Coumans|
A coalition of landowners and native groups announced today that they intend to shut down the Barrick Gold’s Porgera Mine in Papua New Guinea if a petition that they presented to Barrick does not get a positive response. If the landowners – who own 2.5 per cent of the mine – do not receive this response within 30 days of August 25, when they presented the petition, they have pledged to shut down the mine’s operations.
Their petition addresses long-standing concerns at this controversial mine. The petition describes conditions and exploitation at the mine as “appalling and relentless” and demands resettlement of the people within the Special Mining Lease area, amongst other demands.
“We are living as squatters in our own land. We cannot get bush materials to build our house and firewood for making fire. We cannot get fresh water from our creeks and streams. We are made to suffer in our own land while Barrick and the National Government enjoying benefits from our resource and land,” reads the petition.
It concludes, “Given the fact that PNG Government and Barrick are blamed for deliberately neglecting the rights of landowners… the SML landowners are compelled to petition the PNG Government and Barrick Gold that both are obliged to resettle the landowners and address the other issues and that shall be within 30 days from the 25th August, 2009, the date of this petition delivered to the highest office in PNG.”