Open pit mining activities at the Porgera gold mine in Enga province recommenced over the weekend following a temporary halt to mining late last week after a large number of illegal miners entered the open pit and attacked mine workers and equipment in the early hours of Thursday, March 29.
Mine managers at the Porgera Joint Venture report that the mine has been relying on the use of ore stockpiles to maintain uninterrupted production as mining activities resume in planned stages.
One employee was injured last Thursday after being struck with a bush knife and three others were held and threatened by the trespassers before being released hours later.
The mine reports that workers had been removed from the open pit area each evening since Thursday as a safety precaution.
PJV confirmed that the intruders damaged a large earthmoving machine, stole solar panels from the open pit high precision platform, destroyed one Toyota Landcruiser and damaged four others, and damaged portable lighting equipment.
PJV is still confirming the likely costs of the event, which will include the cost of repairs or replacement of damaged equipment and medical treatment for employees assaulted by the intruders.
Mine general manager, Greg Walker, said today (Monday) that while mining activities had resumed, the mine remained concerned at the deterioration of law and order in the Porgera Valley, and the possibility of a repeat event.
“We are concerned that when you have a sizeable group of people in the community who feel that they can act outside of the law for their own self interest, these kinds of events can occur again,” Walker said.
“We have seen a pattern in unlawful behaviour impacting our business over some time - this latest event, while very serious, is just another part of that pattern”.
“We are encouraged by the recent government announcements condemning the acts of those involved and the government’s commitment to act quickly to address this type of lawless behaviour.”