2 Apr 2012

Swift action needed to deal with mob at Porgera mine, says Governor of PNG's Enga province

1:18 pm on 2 April 2012

The Governor of Papua New Guinea's Enga province says a quick and firm response is needed to deal with an unruly mob terrorising the Porgera gold mine.

Porgera's operations have been halted until the worker safety can be guaranteed, after illegal miners went on a rampage last week, destroying mine equipment and injuring staff.

In response, the government has issued a callout to the Defence Force to both Porgera and nearby Hela region where landowner tensions are obstructing the LNG gas project.

Governor Peter Ipatas says the illegal miners are prepared to put their lives at risk to go into the mine's dangerous open pit.

"(The mob was) Over one thousand, two hundred people, mostly from outside the Porgera valley. It's dangerous for anybody to go there. It's a safety issue. So, the mine, it's off-limits for any person who is not a mining employee. This shows a lack of respect for authority and the laws of the country, so we need to act fairly quickly on this."

Peter Ipatas