K92 says unlike Barrick Gold they will respect local communities and their land rights British firm eager to work with locals Eric Balaria
| The National aka The Loggers Times K92 PNG Holdings Ltd is keen to work with locals to ensure the successful operations of the Kainantu mine, in Eastern Highlands.
The Canadian [sic] company last week became the new owner of the mine after completing the purchase from Barrick Gold Corporation at a cost of US$62 million (K163.8m). Chief operating officer and director Brian Luek told The National that with full ownership of the mine and the support of locals in the surrounding communities, K92 would see a new approach into mine operations in the area. “We are new to the country and perceptively PNG has had a bad reputation as a difficult place to work in,” he said. “But we’ve found it was actually very reasonable to work here and things have progressed well, which is bonus is for us, especially with the locals showing support for the mine.”
Luek said K92 had taken a more community-based approach to handling the takeover of the mine from Barrick. “Our approach was different where we had meetings with their central working committees which are basically leaders, women groups, church groups, youth groups from the four affected communities. “It was their land and it was very important that the landowners understand prior to us moving in that it was acceptable for them and for us.
They have shown their support and interest in seeing the benefits of the mine and employment for people in the region,” he said. Luek said as part of their plans, 97 per cent of all K92 employees would be citizens.
He added that there was a lot mine opportunities in the country, especially when bigger companies like Barrick withdrew their operations. “These opportunities provide smaller miners the chance to come in, develop and hope that these projects can be profitable and beneficial to all involved,” Luek said.