14 May 2004

PNG minister vows probe into Porgera shootings

1:30 pm on 14 May 2004

Papua New Guinea's Mining Minister, Sam Akoitai, has promised an investigation into the shooting of 19 people at the Porgera gold mine.

Mr Akoitai was responding to concerns expressed in the House by Enga Governor, Peter Ipatas, who said ten of those shot by guards at the mine had died.

He told MPs the situation at the mine was very tense and could become explosive, threatening the mine's existence.

He said there had been no police investigation into the shootings.

Mr Akoitai said the government was fully aware of the situation at the project site and he promised he would investigate the matter with the assistance of the Internal Security Ministry.

There have been reports in the past of guards at Porgera shooting at locals who have trespassed on the mine site to search waste dumps for gold nuggets.