This press statement is released directly in relation to a news articles read EMTV news segment and print news The National 6 February 2014 “ Illegal Miners Hit Porgera”.
Chairman of Porgera Landowners Association, Tony Mark Ekepa says that the issues surrounding the illegal mining activity at the mine site is not a new development and the State is responsible for recent increase in illegal activities at the Porgera Mine site.
The SML Landowners through PLOA have always maintained that this kind of illegal activity is manageable through provisions in the Porgera Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) review. The mutually agreed provision regarding resettlement is capable of addressing the problem. Steps have been taken by the stakeholders through the Porgera Mine MOA review but that review has been stalled.
The State, through Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), is to be blamed for the recent increase in illegal mining activities for not fast tracking the MOA review. For political convenience, the State has created an unnecessary impasse on the MOA review and illegal activities at the mine site has escalated to a new level as reported by the mine operator.
We the landowners, the developer, the National Government and the Enga Provincial Government, all stakeholders benefit from the Porgera mine. The increase in illegal activities at the Porgera mine site is a by-product of ignorance over many years and a refusal to address the problem pro-actively. The current Porgera MOA review has taken the necessary steps to adequately address the problem with pro-active solution but MOA review impasse caused by the State has triggered of the recent increases in illegal actives.
The State should not over-react to increase in illegal mining activity by deploying mobile police to control the situation. It is a problem that needs to be eliminated at the root. Simply, fast track the MOA review and the stakeholders in the review will mutually undertake a resettlement program that will address the illegal miner’s problem once and for all.
Chairman Ekepa says there is no quick fix solution. Fast tracking the MOA review, with a clause on resettlement will trigger of a way forward to eliminate the illegal miner’s problem. Finally, once the host SML landowners are resettled out of the SML, the illegal miner’s problems will be resettled out as well.
On that basis, due consideration must be given and the Porgera mine MOA review must be fast tracked by the State.
Tony Mark Ekepa
Chairman of PLOA