Enga landslide: what business needs to know


The Porgera gold mine is operating without restrictions, following the tragic Papua New Guinea landslide which hit nearby. Meanwhile, New Porgera Limited and other PNG businesses are contributing to relief efforts, reports Nadav Shemer Shlezinger.

New Porgera Limited (NPL) Country Manager, Karo Lelai (left) handing over the second donation of relief supplies from the Porgera mine to Dorothy Kukum, Director Community Development with Enga Provincial Government. Credit: New Porgera Limited

Papua New Guinea authorities estimate that more than 2000 people have died in the massive landslide, which hit the Maip-Mulitaka local level government area in Enga Province in the early hours of 24 May.

In a statement, the operator of the Porgera gold mine, New Porgera Limited (NPL), said the mine was operating without restriction following the devastating mountainside collapse, which occurred 30 km northeast of the mine.

The major service road to the mine was blocked following the landslide, Nickson Pakea, President of the Porgera Chamber of Commerce & Industry, told Business Advantage PNG.

NPL said it had mobilised heavy earth-moving equipment on both the Porgera and Wabag sides of the landslide to assist the Papua New Guinea Defence Force with the clearance of the road.

The company said its community relations team was engaging with medical and relief teams to assist on the ground. This included providing food, first aid materials and other essential supplies to the location. In addition, NPL is supporting the Enga Provincial Government with manpower assistance at the disaster operations centre in Wabag.

“As the largest business operation in the province… we consider it our responsibility to work in close collaboration with the Enga Provincial Government to continue the relief efforts on the ground with key stakeholders from the donor agencies, government and others,” said James McTiernan, NPL’s General Manager.

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NPL said there were no employees living in the path of the landslide, and that a handful of employees living in the impacted area reported no damage to their homes.

Porgera resumed production in January this year after almost four years on care and maintenance, and is in preparation for full production by the third quarter of 2024. The return to full production has been eagerly anticipated due to expectations that it will help alleviate PNG’s long-running foreign exchange shortages and boost economic activity.

Chamber coordinates assistance

Newmont Corporation and the PNG arm of TotalEnergies are among the companies to have pledged monetary assistance to a fund set up by the PNG Chamber of Resources and Energy (PNG CORE) to support emergency relief efforts.

Newmont said it will provide K1 million towards the efforts. TotalEnergies E&P PNG Ltd  pledged K1 million in monetary assistance, as well as logistical support via helicopter and essential goods including food, solar lamps and hygiene kits.

Funds from the Mulitaka Disaster Committee will be disbursed towards relief efforts led by the Enga Provincial Government in coordination with the National Disaster Centre and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in PNG. New Porgera Limited’s Country Manager Karo Lelai has been appointed Chair and Newmont’s Country Manager Stanley Kome Komunt as Deputy Chair.

Australian disaster response teams have been providing assistance to the Mulitaka district. This has included delivery of supplies such as kitchen and hygiene kits, solar lamps with USB charging, water containers, tarps and tents. Credit: Australian High Commission Papua New Guinea

Lae businesses donate goods and produce

Many other businesses have also donated household items and other goods to Enga province with the assistance of logistics company Mapai Transport, according to the Lae Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI).

Mapai is providing logistics and transport free of charge to businesses wishing to donate goods and produce, the LCCI said.

In an update several days after the landslide, the LCCI said that it had made contact with relief efforts through the Enga Disaster Centre and CARE International and that it had “a high degree of confidence that this is a secure process.”

International port operator ICTSI South Pacific has also announced a donation of K1 million in support of the recovery effort.

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