If there was any lesson to learn from the government’s closure of the Porgera Mine last year, one thing is for sure; that the people must be able to sustain themselves whenever the mine reaches its life span, and closes.
That is the message from Ms. Elizabeth Iarume, who is the President of the Porgera Women in Business and the owner and operator of the Aumbi Guesthouse in Porgera.
She said the people have come to depend on the mine for almost everything and when the mine closed due to the non- renewal of its Special Mining Lease (SML) license over a year ago, the people suffered a lot as local businesses had to scale down and prices of goods and services increased.
“We strongly believe that sustainable development after the mine closes must become a priority for the government and the developer,” said Ms. Iarume.
The one year the mine remained closed has been challenging, especially for the women and children and the elderly population. Therefore, she said everyone is looking forward to this Framework Agreement signed by the government and the developer of the Porgera Mine, Barrick (Niugini) Limited.
“Now that the government and the developer have signed the Framework Agreement, it is a big relief, and it is good news for the people of Porgera.”
She said the Framework Agreement is for the best as it is a win for the people of Porgera and for the country as well because the prime minister has secured a good deal for the landowners to benefit from equity and royalties moving forward.
As such, she is appealing for collaboration among the leaders in the Porgera valley.
“I appeal to our leaders, whatever differences we have, put it aside and let the mine reopen. Later we can always go to the drawing board and discuss. The people have suffered enough.”