Police presence helps restore operations at Porgera mine

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 31st August 2012

OPERATIONS at the Porgera gold mine in Enga have returned to normal with the help of heavy police presence in the area.
Provincial police commander Supt Martin Lakari confirmed yesterday that usual routine was seen at the mine, with no further interruption or destruction caused.
 “I want thank my policemen for their tireless effort to bring this situation under control because such problems would usually take more time and effort to calm down,” he said.
“With your efforts you have restored peace and did your best to maintain law and order, protect lives and public properties which could have been affected,” was Lakari’s message to the policemen.
Trouble started last Sunday when a Porgera mine worker was bashed to death while he was waiting for transport early in the morning.
A bus driver was also shot when he refused to transport the killers.
As a result, Porgera local employees went on a rampage at the mine site, demanding accommodation within the company premises to prevent further deaths in similar circumstances.
Reports said there was trouble between the workers and mine security guards.
 As a result, mine operations were suspended.
Lakari said the situation was peaceful now between the mine developer Barrick and its employees and warned against any more retaliation or illegal activities around Porgera.
“I want to make it clear that my men are on alert to deal with those culprits and opportunist who tried to instigate problems that would affect the mine again.
“We are doing all we can to bring normalcy to the mine site and the Porgera station as well, so people must appreciate what we are doing and help police to restore peace,” Lakari said.
He said the bodies of the two people killed in the violence and protests were at the Paiam Hospital awaiting post-mortem.
Lakari said relatives with information relating to the killings and the suspects should inform police.
“You have a role to play as citizens of this country and I am asking you to come forward and release any information about the killings, which will be treated as confidential.”
He said that could lead to arrest and prevent further trouble.
He said retaliation and revenge was a custom and mentality of the past when people were uncivilised.
He said the issue was with the developer of the mine, Barrick and its staff, adding that there will be no good reason for outsiders to interfere with it and make the situation go out of hand.