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5 Feb 2019

Radio New Zealand

Papua New Guinea: Report highlights abuses at Porgera gold mine; urges co. to address harm & strengthen remedy mechanism

"Pressure at PNG's Porgera mine to act on human rights redress", 6 February 2019

Pressure is mounting on owners of the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea following a critical report into human rights abuses.

A September 2018 report into the mine's impact on the local community found 920 alleged violations including rape, sexual assault, drownings and shootings.

...Porgera United Human Rights Advocacy Group..."...will try to file law suits in Canada, with Barrick in Canada. But first of all, all we'll be doing is to cry out for help through the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights."

...The mine's operators, Barrick Niugini Limited, commissioned the September report, 'In Search of Justice', from an independent agency....

...It outlines a comprehensive 10-point action plan and time line for the mining company to address current harm, strengthen existing remedy mechanisms, and prevent future violations.

..."The Porgera mine operates in one of the world's most challenging environments. The mine is in close proximity to residents, often without clear delineation between company and community property. Violent tribal conflicts are endemic to the region. Poverty levels are staggering. Illegal mining is becoming increasingly common and violent. Weak governance is pervasive," the report stated.

Barrick said the challenges associated with addressing the allegations of harm at Porgera are substantial and that significant barriers exist for those in local communities seeking redress.

It noted the social and technical complexity underpinning the resolution of grievances at Porgera.

A spokesperson for Barrick said it was working on a response to the report and hoped to start talks with community and government groups....