Porgera guards abused, says report

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TWENTY-one people have been confirmed shot dead by Porgera mine security guards while another 59 people have been killed as a result of mine activities, a report presented at an international convention in Canada said.
The report was presented at the convention by the Porgera Landowners Association chairman Mark Tony Ekepa.
A copy of the report sent to The National said 80 people, including children, had died while 68 more people had been injured as a result of mine activities.
It said 14 local women had been raped by mine security guards.
The report said the Anjolek and Anawe dumps had caused massive destruction as the mine discharge “created mud floods, causing numerous deaths”.
Ekepa said 21 deaths were caused by PJV gun shots, 24 injuries from gun shots, 24 deaths from drowning caused by the Anawe and Anjolek dumps, 33 deaths caused by other mining-related activities, four deaths by torture, 44 injuries by torture and 14 rapes by mine guards.
The paper said health defects were high because of the unclean environment, air pollution and waste disposal.
Ekepa said the way to address the mine-related deaths “is to permanently resettle the landowners from the special mine lease area”.
He said if the government and the developer continued to ignore the call for the relocation of the 10,000 people, “more lives will be lost as the people have no choice but to go look for something to eat after their traditional food gardens have been destroyed”.
He called on the government and its agencies and departments to immediately address the landowner grievances and not to continue to allow investors to overexploit the resources and people.
But Gary Halverson, regional president of Barrick Australia-Pacific, said Barrick and the Porgera Joint Venture “fundamentally disagrees with the report and a number of the sensationalist claims that were made”.