19 Oct 2011

Barrick Gold dismisses critical report from landowners near its gold mine in PNG

7:53 pm on 19 October 2011

The operators of the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea have dismissed criticism in a report from landowners living near the mine.

The Porgera Alliance report details human rights abuses and it wants a comprehensive plan to resettle communities.

Don Wiseman reports:

"The Alliance's Jethro Tulin says the company's practice of relocating families within the zone isn't acceptable and re-settlement away from the threats posed by the mine is needed. He says people are living like squatters in their own land. But in a written statement the executive general manager of Barrick Gold Corporation and the Porgera Joint Venture, the mine operators, dismissed the claims. Greg Walker says much of the report is based on inaccurate information. He says the population around the mine has increased ten fold since the mine began operations 20 years ago. Mr Walker says substantial amounts have been spent on relocation and tens of millions more is earmarked for this over the next three years. He says Barrick has a zero tolerance for human rights abuse, that the claims of health defects due to the mining are baseless. And Mr Walker says reports of people drowning in tailings floods are incorrect. He says these people, who're often trespassers, scavenging for gold, are typically swept away by the fast flowing, dangerous Strickland River."