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Allegations of “hijacking and manipulation” of a Papua New Guinea national government sanctioned validation exercise at the Porgera mine in Enga province have been raised, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

Tieni Wuape clan leader from the Special Mining Lease (SML) Janet Yuwi told the Post-Courier that a landowner group was allegedly misleading the Mining Department team in Porgera on unsanctioned venues for the validation process.

“A public notice published by the Ministry of Mining in the print media recently had sanctioned sites, villages and communities to be visited during the validation exercise but that was not happening,” she said.

Yuwi said she had waited in vain at Yarik Kanaga on the date scheduled which was on Monday, July 26, with other clan members.

She said the landowners were later informed that the voting was hosted by Mamai clan at Panadaka village which was totally unacceptable and not according to the sanctioned sites.

“We saw the Mining Department’s notice on the paper (print media) dated 19 Jul, 2021 and we were at the site at Yarik, Kanaga, and we waited the whole day and later we heard that it was done at Panadaka village,” Yuwi said.

She said the landowners were happy with the state’s decision to allow SML landowners to appoint their new clan agents since the original agents have passed on and some were replaced by their sons.

‘Good initiative’
“It is such a good initiative to appoint new agents for a new Porgera.

“For the last 30 years, clan agents have been hiding and never informed landowners of their share.

“From such experience, we will appoint new agents who will be honest and remain in Porgera and not in Port Moresby,” Yuwi said.

She said the state team should work independently and refrain from favouring one group of landowners.

She said Prime Minister James Marape’s government was anticipating the completion of the validation exercise to enable the appointed agents from the 25 sub-clans to participate in mining development forums and other government sanctioned forums.

Last month, Asia Pacific Report carried an article reporting that it would cost the Papua New Guinea state and Australian operator Barrick Niugini Ltd K630 million (US$180 million) to reopen the Porgera gold mine.

The reopening of the mine in early September will see Barrick paying out full benefits of all employees who were retrenched, including those in care and maintenance, and they will be recruited under the new Porgera mine structure.

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