'Hard to believe' Barrick didn't order police operation at PNG gold mine

8:23 pm on 30 March 2017

A mining watchdog says it's hard to believe a Canadian mining company didn't order a police operation near the Porgera Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea last weekend.

A human rights group, the Akali Tange Association said Barrick Gold ordered the raid in which a disputed number of homes were destroyed.

Porgera mine.

Porgera mine. Photo: wikicommons / Richard Farbellini

It said it had received reports of policing raping and assaulting villagers.

But Barrick Gold denies involvement and said the raid was conducted under a court warrant after evidence of illegal activity was found.

MiningWatch Canada spokesperson Catherine Coumans said those denials were hard to accept.

"The contrary would be that these police are just going off and doing this on their own, although they are actually there under a memorandum of agreement with the company. They are being paid by the company. They're guarding the mine. So if the company's not involved and is not ordering this then there is a real problem there because then the company is allowing this to happen."

Catherine Coumans says the raid's victims need humanitarian assistance.