In Search of Justice: Pathways to Remedy at the Porgera Gold Mine hero image

In Search of Justice: Pathways to Remedy at the Porgera Gold Mine

September 14, 2018
  • Margaret Jungk

    Former Managing Director, Human Rights, BSR

  • Ouida Chichester portrait

    Ouida Chichester

    Director, Energy, Extractives, Transport, and Industrials, BSR

  • Chris Fletcher

    Former Associate, BSR

BSR’s report, In Search of Justice: Pathways to Remedy at the Porgera Gold Mine, explores how to provide remedy for persons harmed at or around the Porgera Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea. It describes existing remedy mechanisms, identifies barriers to access, and issues recommendations for improving access to remedy. The overall purpose of this report is to help rightsholders in Porgera receive effective remedy for harms they have endured in relation to the mine’s operations. 

While this report and recommendations were commissioned by Barrick Gold Corp. (Barrick) and its partially owned subsidiary, Barrick (Niugini) Limited (BNL), BSR has maintained full, independent control over the research and conclusions. The recommendations were developed as part of a year-long process of research and engagement with local, national, and international stakeholders. 

We hope that the recommendations this report provides can serve as the basis for constructive dialogue among communities, Papua New Guinea’s government, other interested stakeholders, and the mine owners and operator. The recommendations outlined in this report and the issues raised and discussed draw upon international human rights principles and are grounded in a human rights-based approach.

The next and most important step will be for the mine to engage in dialogue with the community and work toward an agreeable and viable action plan. With these recommendations, BSR is providing general guidance. This document is intended as a road map for the difficult and necessary work that remains. The path forward should entail a collaborative process that involves the mine and the community—and, where appropriate, the PNG government. The report’s recommendations are designed to serve as the basis for a new dynamic in Porgera, one in which the benefits of the mine are more equitably distributed and human rights are promoted and enhanced, not undermined.

10 Key Recommendations

Kisim tok pisin liklik ripot hia

Address Current Harms

Recommendation 1

Reform the Company Operational Grievance Mechanism in line with the UN Guiding Principles and with direct community consultation.

Recommendation 2

Enter into a dialogue with the 119 women who underwent the Porgera Remedy Mechanism to ascertain and address their remaining needs to achieve full restoration.

Strengthen Existing Remedy Mechanisms

Recommendation 3

Establish a free Victim Advocates’ Office to serve as an entry point for victims, providing information and helping them access appropriate pathways to remedy.

Recommendation 4

Build the capacity of victims’ representative organizations in Porgera to raise awareness of human rights and to genuinely represent the needs of victims.

Recommendation 5

Address barriers to existing remedy pathways in Porgera, focusing on those pathways that are most vital and utilized by victims of the mine’s operations.

Recommendation 6

Expand the mandate for Barrick’s Independent Observer to cover all human rights harms and institutionalize the position so its formal powers will extend past the current officeholder.

Recommendation 7

Support the creation of a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) or the extension of the Human Rights Ombudsman mandate to address private sector-related impacts on human rights.

Prevent Future Violations

Recommendation 8

Address gender-specific impacts and make direct investments in the women affected by the mine’s operations, recognizing that there is a severe gender imbalance in the costs/benefits of mining in Porgera.

Recommendation 9

Redesign community engagement and investment, and strengthen the human rights capacity at the mine by assessing current efforts, engaging with the community, and employing internationally recognized best practices.

Next Steps

Recommendation 10

Create a company action plan, in dialogue with the community, to establish immediate, intermediate, and long-term actions designed to implement the report’s recommendations and secure access to remedy for victims in Porgera.

Full Report Summary

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