Porgera villagers not panning for gold

Letters, Normal

The National- Thursday, February 3, 2011

 I AM writing in response to an article, Porgera police arrest 45 people panning for gold (The National, Feb 1) which contains a number of factual errors.

The article alleges that ìPorgera mine police have arrested 45 locals along the riverî and that local people had been demanding the release of those allegedly detained.

The fact is that anyone who was arrested or detained in relation to this incident was arrested while obstructing mining access roads within the mine property on Saturday, Jan 29, and was held by local police at the Paiam police station.

It is our understanding that all of those detained by the police were subsequently released and that none of those people remain in police custody.

The people that were detained were not ìpanning for goldî, as the title of the article suggests, but rather were impeding the ordinary functions of the mine by deliberately preventing access to working areas of the mine.

I would urge any person who has concerns regarding the operation of the mine to raise their issues through the community relations office of the mine or through their senior community representatives, rather than seeking to take the law into their own hands.

I trust that this helps clarify the situation for your readers.



Mark Fisher

Executive general manager (PNG)

Barrick (Australia Pacific) Ltd