Hazardous Chemical disposal in Red Wara River

On July 12, several reports from Porgera indicate that there was a chemical release by Barrick into the Red Wara River.

UPDATE from Mark Ekepa:
“In my village last week 12th July there was a shut down of mill and took 4 day to refurbished and service it while doing that the rubbish from the auto clave and unneutralized of chemicals were discharged direct into the red wara.
When the villagers saw that they went down panning for waste gold as usual on their daily life and started packing them in their bags and trying to clean them with fresh water but they started feeling in their all body started heated up and itching on their skins.
After an hours time the news spread around the village and Barrick PJV stepped in with their CRA officers and found out and confirmed it and took 8 victims the worse one to their medical center and treat them and took their blood samples to be tested and advices the victims to wait for two weeks to get their results.
There are more victims there were burned by the chemical disposal and yet collecting their details will update you.”
According to Everlyn Gaupe, over 100 victims under close attention of the medical care as a result of the release, but need proper care and resources.

Righting Wrongs?: Columbia and Harvard Law School produce report on Porgera

Jethro Tulin commended the Columbia and Harvard Law Schools, as well as lawyers Sarah Knuckey and Tyler Giannini,  for their excellent independent reporting in “Righting Wrongs? Barrick Gold’s Remedy Mechanism for Sexual Violence in Papua New Guinea: Key Concerns and Lessons Learned“. (download report here)

Tulin also stated, “Catherine Coumans (Canada), Natalie Lowery (Australia), Teacha Beaumont (Australia), Sakura Saunders (United States) and many other names not mentioned, we all started together in this struggle some 10 years ago and you all know the full story. Barrick through out the entire remedy framework implementation, did avoided contact and isolated myself and Tony Mark Ekepa in totality but the report tells the full story, we the Porgera Alliance team in Porgera, Mark Tony Ekepa, Jethro Tulin, Jeffery Simon, David Mandi, Robert Taropen, Aron Robin Pes Kiwale and many others names not mentioned, despite Barrick’s controlled isolating us from a struggle that we are deeply connected, the Righting Wrongs? report sets the record correctly. We stand tall.”

Natalie Lowrey wrote of the report, “it pains me to have to even post the following report which is a three year study that highlights the ongoing abuses of the mining industry. In this case the brutal rapes and gang rapes of women in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, at the hands of staff employed by the worlds largest gold miner, Barrick Gold. Barrick finally admitted to the rapes, most of the 120 rape survivors were compensated with less than $6,000 and had to sign waivers that gives Barrick legal immunity i.e. they cannot sue the company.”

View the report here: //www.rightingwrongsporgera.com/

Thanks to Sarah Knuckey, MiningWatch Canada, and the Human Rights Legal Clinics at Harvard and Colombia Law Schools for there work in exposing this atrocity.

Landowners respond to 50% sale of Porgera Mine to Zijin Mining Group

The Porgera Landowners Association sent a letter to the head office of Barrick Gold outlining their concerns about the sale of 50% of their Porgera Mine stake to Zijin Mining Group. They are calling for Barrick to convene a high level delegates meeting with stakeholders of the Porgera Mine, including Zijin, so that these concerns can be addressed.

These concerns include:

  • losing local employment to Chinese employees
  • losing local business if the procurement process is affected
  • severe damage to the environment
  • lack of respect for MOA commitments
  • the resettlement project could be negatively impacted
  • the Fly-in, Fly-out agreement will be undermined

Read the full statement here.


UNPFII 14th session: Statement by Akali Tange Association and endorsed by the Pacific Caucus

Item 4: Half-day discussion on the Pacific region

21 April 2015

Statement byAkali Tange Association and endorsed by the Pacific Caucus.


We would like to begin our statement in addressing the fact that while we here at the United Nations talk of human rights violations in the context of the pillaging and plundering of resource extraction by businesses, foreign companies and multi-nations and States on Indigenous lands we are deeply aware of the fact that and living the reality that these human rights violations are, in fact, criminal acts being committed against us in and on our own Pacific waters and lands.

From environmental damage, to averting of our food chains, to the importing and planting of unsustainable crops, to food insecurity, the peoples of the Pacific experience cultural genocide at the hands of extractive industries that face little to no legal recourse or actual, on-the-ground human rights or criminal law standards being met. In fact, it is as if the businesses are the ones dictating the law of the lands.

The weakness of State governments in the supporting foreign companies from developed States entering our sacred, traditional, territorial and life-sustaining lands and resources results in the crushing of our Pacific Indigenous peoples, health, lives and well-being to a degree that is cruel and inhumane.

Corruption and lack of political willpower permit businesses to get away with crimes ranging from murder to forced relocation and evictions, rape, organized assaults, torture and other bodily harm to our families, in our homes and through the destruction of and for our resources, alongside restrictions of media access and the labeling of our Indigenous Pacific human rights defenders and allies as criminals and subversives and often ending in their deaths.

UN General Assembly Resolution 1803 (XVII), on Permanent sovereignty over natural resources, has stated that “violation of the rights of peoples and nations to sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources is contrary to the spirit and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and hinders the development of international co-operation and the maintenance of peace.”

However we do not see these words being upheld in our Indigenous Pacific homelands by the very States who have agreed to this and other treaties and legal manifestations including the United Nations, including through the UNDRIP. Violence against our women and men by extractive industries committed by security guards, hired police forces, workmen, and other extractive industries employees is used as a weapon of intimidation by business forces occupying our territories and defiling our Pacific Indigenous peoples’ self-determination.

The violence against Papua New Guinea and its Indigenous people/s at the minds and hands of Barrick Gold and the mining industry are but one heavy-hearted, all-consuming example of the rape of both Indigenous women and traditional Indigenous territories and relations here on earth by companies manifesting from ‘developed’ States for the benefit of the development-privileged global north and west. Indigenous landowners victim to extractive industries experience tailings into their river systems and poisoning of the very earth that is needed to sustain Indigenous life and cultures, resulting in environmental violence.

OECD guidelines are not complied with, nor are basic tenants of Human and Indigenous Rights and needs for cultural and human survival such as land security, fresh water and foods and continuation of traditional practices. Businesses are not held accountable for genocide, cultural genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity in the context of extractive industries, however we the Indigenous Peoples of the pacific experience that we are victims of all of these crimes at the hands of extractive industries in reality. UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, has stated that “Sexual violence in conflict needs to be treated as the war crime that it is; it can no longer be treated as an unfortunate collateral damage…”, and the UN Security Council has stated that “women and girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group.”

General Comment No. 14 on the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights issued by the ICESCR Committee in 2000 states, Article 12(4) states that “the right to health embraces a wide range of socio-economic factors that promote conditions in which people can lead a healthy life, and extends to the underlying determinants of health, such as…a healthy environment” and “any person or group victim of a violation of the right to health should have access to effective judicial or other appropriate remedies at both national and international levels and should be entitled to adequate reparation. We seek the right to begin to heal from the atrocities committed against us by extractive industries and the States that align with them, however how can we become healed and healthy again, when the atrocities have never ended? For this we reference Articles 24 and 43 of the UNDRIP, as well as the wisdom of our own sacred ways, peoples and lands.

We watch politicians, lawyers and judges from the ‘developed’ global north who have once championed international criminal law and justice in the highest of world courts and tribunals, such as Gabriel Kirk McDonald, then go on to be paid millions of US dollars or other currencies of ‘developed’ States to serve as ‘human rights advisors’ to major extractive industries such as Freeport McMoran, while these same companies then continue to, for years upon years and to this day, rape, murder and pillage and plunder the Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific. Where is our justice? Where are the tribunals giving us back our human and homeland security, lives of our peoples, self-determination and rights to our lands?


We recommend the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples investigate ways and means to clear mechanisms that Indigenous Peoples have full and equal access to and voice in and in which they can hold businesses, multi-nationals and extractive industries accountable for not only human rights violations but also criminal acts in Indigenous lands and against Indigenous Peoples in accordance with International Criminal Law and Customary Law including but not limited to crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, cultural genocide, and the breaching, with the collusion of States, of the very legal, moral and ethical foundations of the Charter of the United Nations and the right of Peoples to self-determination. We recommend that the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  coordinate with other Special Rapporteurs to undergo this investigation.


PRESS STATEMENT: Victory! Victims of abuse receive compensation

We at Porgera Alliance are pleased to Claim Victory on out of court settlement  entered by our lawyers from Earth Rights International in the USA and Barrick Gold of Canada on agreement to pay compensation to issues connected with human rights abuses at the Porgera mine site, (Rapes and Killing) after many many tears of struggle to seek justice and relief.
The victory comes about after many years struggle to seek justice with limited or no resources in the absences of the Papua New Guinea Governments support. Human Rights abuse crimes occurred at thePorgera mine site and we plead to the PNG many times but felt on deaf ears in Waigani. Despite many obstacles, we brought the issues to door step of Barrick Gold in Canada and USA. It took us many years but at least, but not the last, we at Porgera Alliance where able to pin down Barrick and that eventually lead to the out off court settlement, compensation in a small way to rape and killing victims. The victory demonstrates, Porgera Alliance Yes We can on a grassroot note and a shame to the PNG government failing to protects its citizens in the pre text of foreign investment and development.
Jethro Tulin
Executive Officer
Porgera Alliance & ATA

READ statement by EarthRights International.


Porgera Landowners petition PNG Government with Ultimatum regarding Barrick’s intention to sell Porgera Mine

MOA landowner protest
Photo from previous landowner dispute over Barrick's violation to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)

Today, Porgera Landowners petitioned the PNG Government with an ultimatum in response to Barrick’s announcement that it intends to sell off its stake in the Porgera Mine. According to the petition, the government has until Feb 25, 2015 to respond to the landowners request that the government deal with unresolved issues at the mine before allowing its sale.

These issues are outlined as follows:

1. SML Resettlement The relocation issues not being fully addressed by the Developers and the State in the due processes since 24 years of mine life as of 1989 to 2015 this year.

2. Landowner Resettlement Issues The major resettlement issues not being addressed even though the matter was raised at different avenues. The major resettlement program is still pending with Barrick being the key player.

3. Disposal of Tailings The PJV’s continuous discharging of mine waste into the main riverine system especially at Anawe waste dump site and Anjolek creek are causing a serious damages to the environment, improving plants and permanent loss of traditional customary land starting from the mine site then flows into the main Kaiya and Pogema River Systems respectively. Its then proceeds down to the main Porgera River and on to Fly River system resulting in causing tension cracks with high flooding of the debrides with mixture of sands, gravels and toxic chemicals reactions are taking place. Then it also causes with huge landslides along the either sides of the riverbanks. Reference – Parama Association of Lower Porgera is now taking legal actions and seeking Human Rights International assistance against the PJV-Barrick Gold Ltd and Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

4. Human Rights Currently the SML Landowners are now living within the vicinity of the special mining lease areas are seriously affected as due to air and dust pollution causing from the hauling of mine Ore body and toxic fume or steams that evaporates through the milling chimney that goes up into the air. And it really affects the human lives when drinking of rain water catchment from the tanks and other air pollutions within the PJV relocation homes and other surrounding areas of SML Porgera mine. Also a number of local landowners and domestic animals being carried away by the high flooding river currents while penning of alluvial gold along the main Kaiya and Porgera River System; a traditional or customary land owned by the Tieni, Tuanda and Kewai landowners. Reference – Porgera Landowners Association is dealing these matters at the high level of both government authorities and other international community’s support and assistance.

5. Porgera Agreement After more than 24 years of mine life there was no tangible developments were taking sharp into the relocation areas such as electricity connection into the relocation houses, access road links into the relocation villages. Also there is no proper Aid-post or Health centers and any form of educational services such as elementary to primary schools within the relocation areas of SML Porgera mine. Reference – The Porgera Landowners association has raised these praising issues and graveness at the various avenues during the 24 years of mining life. Thus, no formal review was done between the STATE, DEVELOPER (Barrick Gold Ltd) and Porgera Landowners Association for and on behalf of the silent majority with an estimate population of ten thousand (10 000) plus people of SML Landowners of Porgera mine.

6. Mine Lease Issues Papua New Guinea is a land owned by the traditional landowners oppose to state ownership. We the traditional landowners own the land through inhabitants from generation to generations. The mine lease Barrick will expire in (2019) that is after three years’ time, but, we still have the issues of permanent damages to our land and environmental damages caused due to mining operations.

7. Socio-economic Issues The socio-economic liabilities including outstanding obligations and claims for sustainability are at stake.

With these underlying issues which has been prolong for well over 24 years of mine life, the PJV Barrick Gold went ahead and sold out its 95% share from Porgera mine without the landowners concerns as we are the part shareholder of 2.5% and another 2.5% belongs to the Enga Provincial Government. Also the State and the Barrick Gold Ltd are well aware that we the people of SML area of Porgera mine are wholly own this customary land territories of the current mining operations are taking place. The State and the Barrick Gold Ltd had deliberately removed our rights and freedoms as part of ignorance and selling out of 95% stake to an unknown mining company. Under that circumstance we the landowners are very much frustrated and anger over the manner in which the PJV/Barrick Gold Ltd the immediate manager of the Porgera mining operation had deliberately by-passing the landowners from further negotiation on Barrick take-over. Also PJV/Barrick had left behind all the above pressing issues yet to be addressed and just wanted to sneak out. With these terms and conditions, we have no choice but to declare the mine operation to be CLOSED for indefinite period if no positive responses are coming forthwith.

Massive Protests in Porgera over violation to MOA agreement with landowners

On October 28, 2014, hundreds of Porgerans marched onto Barrick Gold’s Porgera mine site to demand benefits that rightfully belong to the Porgera Special Mining Lease (SML) Landowners.

On Oct 17, Barrick Gold was given a 48 hour ultimatum to respond to requests by landowners at their controversial Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea. The first demand, that Barrick become Party to a revised Porgera Mine Memorandum of Agreement and make a date to commence MOA review, has been the landowners “number one ask from day one”, according to a letter dated October 17, 2014 from the landowners association to Barrick management. For many years, the Porgera Landowners Association has been urging Barrick Gold for the resettlement of their people away from the Porgera mine site, through MOA reviews, and an international pressure and educational campaign including an OECD complaint and several appeals to the United Nations.

After the protest reached the Barrick mine, the company agreed to give an answer to the landowner’s demands by Nov. 10, 2014.









Porgera Burns: Police set homes of “illegal miners” in Wingima ablaze again

Porgera Burns read the headline in PNG's national paper
"Porgera Burns" read the headline at PNG's National Newspaper

UPDATE ON WINGIMA HOME BURNINGS: (reporting from Jethro Tulin)

1. A Total of 87 permanent structured were burnt down
2. At the time of the raid, two women where raped according to witness.

3. 5 people were seriously injured and admitted to hospital.

People feared the police and cases were not properly reported to police nor did people seek medical reports.

From June 9: “Porgera Burns” read headlines in Papua New Guinea’s daily newspaper. More than 200 houses were burnt to the ground, it reports, and angry villagers retaliated by attacking an Australian mine worker.

This isn’t the first time that security forces have burnt down hundreds of houses next to Barrick’s mine, and this recent violent episode underscores the need to meet the community’s demand to be resettled away from the dangerous mine site.

“This is the second time this village (Wingima) was burnt down. The first one was done during the first state of emergency call out operation some six years ago which never solved the problem,” MP Nixon Mangape said of this most recent police campaign.

“Why is Barrick not looking at long term solutions like relocating the people out of the special mining lease area? Burning houses in a particular village in the special mining lease area will not solve the illegal mining problem. It’s adding more fuel to a burning fire.”

Porgera Landowners Press Statement in response to “Illegal Miners Hit Porgera”

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. Continue reading “Porgera Landowners Press Statement in response to “Illegal Miners Hit Porgera””

Billions lost due to weak mining policies

Source: Solomon Time

Papua New Guinea has been losing billions of kina in mineral resources due to lack of strong policies and capacity to properly monitor and regulate the industry.

Enga Governor and host to the world class Porgera Gold Mine, Peter Ipatas in his keynote address to stakeholders during the Mineral Policy and Legislation Division’s regional consultation program in Mt Hagen yesterday said developers were exploiting the mineral sector without any good benefits going back to the country and its people. Continue reading “Billions lost due to weak mining policies”