The National, Monday June 1st, 2015
I WRITE to relay events in Porgera last week so the rest of PNG will know the current controversies associated with sales of Barrick (Niugini) Ltd announcing its 95% equity of Porgera Gold Mine.
We, the Porgera residents were filled with jubilation when Greg Walker, the resident general manager made public at a PJV/Community members meeting that Barrick retained 50% of its equity after selling the other 50% to a Chinese company.
Walker told a crowded conference room that Barrick decided to retain 47.5% of its 95% equity because the outstanding liabilities pressures of landowners had to be attended to. He assured the community members that Barrick will continue managing Porgera mine but this time he was to report to a board of directors in Port Moresby. Walker will now have more powers to make decisions here and not report to Toronto as in the past.
Walker told Porgera residents that he was one of the three Barrick directors. He will now be designated the title-Managing Director of Porgera Mine. The Chinese company will also have 3 members on the BOD. He assured the meeting that the Chinese will have to think, work and behave as we do in Porgera, or as Papua New Guineans. If they step out of line to Asianize the business culture here, we will have to correct them so they succeed this time. Else their investments will suffer miserably as they experienced in Congolese Republic and Chile in some past Chinese investment attempts.
As Walker assured us that each factions of landowners will be attended to and treated separately according merits of each case, we were relieved that Barrick was staying on to attend to our “subsistence survival sources- land- loss grievances”.
As president of Porgera Red Wara Women’s Association, I thank Walker for valiantly facing selfishly-ambitious landowners from day one of his arrival into Porgera some 10 years ago and intermingled with us to see the maturity of Porgera community members over the years..
Judy B. Kuala
President, Porgera Red Wara Women’s Association