Response from Barrick Niugini Limited
Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL) was approached by the authors about the Study in 2017... [and] engaged extensively with the authors and provided information and data related to water management on the site. The Study [includes]... concerning allegations and we are committed...to work in a constructive and transparent manner with anyone who has concerns relating to the way the Mine operates.
.... Under the conditions of its Environment Permit, the mine is permitted to discharge treated mine tailings, treated domestic sewage, rainfall runoff and rainwater drainage from the mine lease areas into the broader Strickland River system, including creeks and tributaries. Testing of the mine contact water that drains from mining areas is undertaken on a monthly basis... [I]ndependent reviews are undertaken to determine that environmental monitoring results are accurate and that current ecological effects have been identified... We note that the Study did not find high concentrations of heavy metals in collected rainwater – the main drinking water source in Porgera... The results of the monitoring program show that PJV is in compliance with the environmental permits issued by the PNG Government... We are particularly concerned that the report does not take into account the local-level social challenges (i.e. tribal conflict) around implementing community development initiatives when dismissing these [water] programs as “inadequate”. The mine is and remains committed to working with the Government and the local communities to find workable solutions. However, this is a matter beyond the sole scope and control of any entity and requires effort on the part of all relevant stakeholders. We remain committed to our responsibility to respect the human right to water and to supporting the Government to promote responsible stewardship for the environment and promotion of social wellbeing.