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Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) gold mine, Papua New Guinea

The cost of gold: extrajudicial killings, gang rapes and other depressing human rights abuses have marked the development of the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) gold mine in Papua New Guinea


Papua New Guinea is a country rich in natural resources and holds large reserves of mineral ores such as gold and silver. The mining sector represents an important source of governmental revenues that contributes substantial shares to the national GDP. The Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) mine, located in Enga province, is the second largest mine in Papua New Guinea and among the ten most productive gold mines worldwide [1]. But the sector brings not only benefits – it comes with massive social and environmental costs as the depressing development of the Porgera Gold Mine has shown [2;3;4]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) gold mine, Papua New Guinea
Country:Papua New Guinea
State or province:Enga province
Location of conflict:Lagaip-Porgera District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Specific commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Papua New Guinea’s mining sector represents a relevant source of governmental revenues. In 2002, the sector accounted for about 75% of the exports and 21% of GDP [2].

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Project area:2,200
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectunknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:6,000 -50,000
Start of the conflict:1990
Company names or state enterprises:Barrick Gold Corporation from Canada
Barrick Niugini Ltd. (BNL) from Papua New Guinea - operating company
Mineral Resources Enga Ltd from Papua New Guinea - Shareholder
ZiJin Mining Group Co. Ltd. from China - Shareholder
Placer Dome Inc. from Canada
Relevant government actors:Government of Papua New Guinea
Enga provincial government
Enga police force
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Akali Tange Association (ATA),
Porgera Alliance,
Mining Watch Canada,
Human Rights Watch,
Amnesty International,
Earth Rights International,
Harvard and New York University Law schools,
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Artisanal miners
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
International scientists; Ipili indigenous
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Threats to use arms
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Mine tailing spills, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Noise pollution, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other Environmental impactsHeavy metals (i.e. mercury) and chemicals (i.e. cyanide) released into the environment
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases, Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition
Other Health impactsexposure to mercury of small-scale miners; spread of sexually transmitted diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Land dispossession, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Violent targeting of activists
out-of-court settlements; some security staff was convicted of rape
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Conflicts around the mine go on. Damages are vast.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Papua New Guinea 1992 Mining Act and Regulation
[click to view]

Papua New Guinea Environment Act 2000
[click to view]

Papua New Guinea Mineral Resources Authority Act 2005
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] Human Rights Watch 2010. Gold’s Costly Dividend: Human Rights Impacts of Papua New Guinea’s Porgera Gold Mine. New York, United States
[click to view]

[3] Amnesty International 2010. Undermining rights: Forced evictions and police brutality around the Porgera Gold Mine, Papua New Guinea. London, United Kingdom.
[click to view]

[11] Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic & Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic: RIGHTING WRONGS? BARRICK GOLD'S REMEDY MECHANISM FOR SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA, Key Concerns and Lessons Learned. (accessed 16.11.2017)
[click to view]

Enodo rights 2016. Pillar III on the Ground An Independent Assessment of the Porgera Remedy Framework (accessed 16.11.2017)
[click to view]

[1] Wikipedia - Porgera Gold Mine (accessed 16.11.2017)
[click to view]

[4] Human Rights Watch 2011. Papua New Guinea: Serious Abuses at Barrick Gold Mine,

Systemic Failures Underscore Need for Canadian Government Regulation. (accessed online 16.11.2017)
[click to view]

[5] ABC News 2015 (April, 8th). Barrick Gold compensates women raped at Papua New Guinea mine site in out-of-court settlement. (Accessed online 16.11.2017)
[click to view]

[7] Barrick Gold response to ATA letter (2017, May 27).
[click to view]

[8] Collaborative for Development Action (CDA) report 2001. Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) gold mining operation. Available online (accessed 16.11.2017).
[click to view]

[9] Barrick Gold Homepage on the Porgera mine. (accessed 16.11.2017).
[click to view]

[10] article from May 26th, 2015. Barrick sells 50% in Papua New Guinea unit to China's Zijin. (accessed 16.11.2017)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Human Rights Watch - Gold's Costly Dividend (video)
[click to view]

French documentary on the Porgera Mine
[click to view]

Other documents

[6] Akali Tange Association (ATA) Inc. Letter to Barrick PJV from June 17th, 2016.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3082
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