Felled pylons disrupt Porgera’s power supply

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday 14th Febuary 2012

POWER supply to the Porgera gold mine in Enga has been disrupted by villagers who brought down four pylons two weeks ago.
Enga police commander Martin Lakari yesterday said some people from Tari in the Hela region, felled the pylons in the Harida jungle bordering Porgera and Tari.
Chief Supt Lakari said Barrick gold, the deve­loper of the mine, sent its employees to put the pylons back up but bad weather prevented helicopters from flying in repair crews.
He said it slowed down work at the site.
One pylon was repaired last weekend.
Lakari said with the bad weather, it was likely to take another two weeks before power would be fully restored to the mine.
The area is only accessible by helicopter.
Lakari said a section of the police mobile squad 02 was flown to the sites and was now providing security for employees working there.
He said extra police men would be sent from Mt Hagen to provide security and keep illegal miners away from the open pit mine.
He said those responsible for bringing the pylons down had gone into hiding by the time police arrived.
Lakari appealed to En­gans and Taris living near the power pylons not to disrupt the flow of electricity supply from Hides Gas in Tari to Porgera.
He said the power lines carried high vol­tage and they were only putting their lives at risk by bringing the power lines down.
He said if the villagers had any concern, they must raise the matter with the management of the company and resolve it peacefully.
Lakari said if police found those involved, they would be arrested and charged as it was a criminal offence.
He appealed to the villagers to respect power lines running through their area.