Overseas mining companies importing crime and violence into Papua New Guinea
Recent revelations about the behavior of security guards employed by Barrack Gold’s at its Pogera mine and the use of Fijian mercenaries at the Simberi gold mine, reveal how foreign mining companies can increase lawlessness and invoke violent reprisals.
In October last year, Sarah Knuckey, a lawyer at the center for human rights at New York University School of Law, told a Canadian parliamentary hearing security guards working at Barrack Gold’s Pogera mine in Papua New Guinea habitually gang rape local women.
Knuckly told the hearing “the guards, usually in a group of five or more, find a woman while they are patrolling on or near mine property. They take turns threatening, beating and raping her. In a number of cases, women reported to me being forced to chew and swallow condoms used by guards during the rape.”
Amnesty International has also complained about the actions of police employed as guards at the Pogera mine. In December last year Amnesty revealed that local police had violently evicted local families and burned down and destroyed at least 130 buildings and houses. While Barrack Gold initially denied the allegations, the company was later forced to accept the findings.
Meanwhile it has been revealed that the Simberi gold mine has been illegally employing 14 Fijian mercenaries to guard its mining operations in New Ireland province. The mercenaries were working without valid visa’s and their employment by the mine company provoked an angry response from local landowners.
The local police commander in New Ireland described the mercenaries as a ‘private army’ brought in to control protests by local landowners over the mines environmental performance. Landowners in New Ireland allege the mercenaries were flown in with their own firearms.