NEC authorises Military-Police Operation in Porgera Valley Amid Rising Illegal Mining Activities

Thursday 4 April 2024

The National Executive Council has authorised a joint military and police  operation in the Porgera Valley of Enga, to curb the rising problem of illegal mining in the area.

 Prime Minister Hon. James Marape in announcing Cabinet decision,  said, this is in response to the recent surge of unauthorised miners invading the Special Mining Lease (SML) area, posing significant risks to both the trespassers and the official mine workers.

“This is in response to incursions by illegal miners into the SML area,” stated Prime Minister Marape, when  highlighting the gravity of the situation, which  endangers both the lives of illegal miners as well as the mine workers.

 Mr Marape  said there had been  an extraordinary increase of illegal miners encroaching into the mine area, and uncontrolled movement of people amidst so many tribal disputes.

“The decision for a military-police collaboration stems from today’s (Wednesday 3 April) Cabinet meeting, underscoring the government’s commitment to maintaining peace and order in the region.

 “Cabinet could have called for a state of emergency but decided against this,” Prime Minister Marape further explained.

“Instead, a targeted call-out order will be issued to synergise military and police efforts in restoring peace and normalcy in the Porgera Valley.”

 Prime Minister Marape issued a stern warning against illegal miners and individuals partaking in unlawful activities, stating, “I want to advise illegal miners and those involved in illegal activities that the long arm of the law will catch up with you.”

In addition to immediate security measures, the Prime Minister unveiled plans for a sustainable solution to verify and manage the local population.

 National Identification cards will soon be distributed to all traditional landowners and business proprietors in the Porgera Valley, with special passes provided to other residents.

 “This is to avoid an influx of unnecessary people into the Porgera Valley,” he clarified.

With the recent reopening of the New Porgera Mine, Prime Minister Marape emphasised the critical role of the local community in ensuring the venture’s success.

“The New Porgera Mine is expected to give maximum benefits to landowners. Any illegal activities jeopardise the profitability of the mine.

“Every citizen of Porgera must take it upon themselves to ensure no illegal trespassing into the mine area,” he said.

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