11 May 2009

Chinese mine official says PNG mine violence not due to cultural differences

7:33 pm on 11 May 2009

Mobile police units have been deployed to the Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea's Madang province following a violent rampage late last week.

The rampage by a small group of local workers at the Basamuk Bay construction site for the Chinese government-run project left three Chinese workers critically injured, dozens of project vehicles destroyed and accommodation blocks damaged.

The violence was sparked by a rumour that a PNG national had died after being injured in an accident on site.

Ramu NiCo Management's Deputy General Manager Corporate Office, Wu Xuefeng, says the man injured is recovering well but that there was no foul play.

He has denied that the violence was a result of cultural differences between local and Chinese workers.

"Both Chinese and some national [PNG] workers were attacked by a small group of national workers. So it is not necessarily a Chinese/PNG attack, though it is subject a police investigation but we would guess that the reasoning in that will be that there was a false rumour about the worker injured in an industrial accident."