Case story

  • Papua New Guinea

Petromin PNG, Tolukuma Gold Mine

Papua New Guinea 2007

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Many local community groups expressed a number of grievances relating to environmental pollution including the dumping of mine waste in the Auga/Angabanga Rivers, health and safety concerns as well as a lack of available potable water and threats to food security. Other grievances expressed included a lack of communication, infringements of rights as well as a lack of informed consent with respect to the activities of the mine. As a result, local community groups lodged a complaint with the Oxfam Australia Mining Ombudsman. In 2007, after obtaining the consent and involvement of local community members, the Mining Ombudsman organised a team to source different potable water reserves for downstream communities. Scientific studies found that the river had indeed been polluted as a result of the actions of the mining company and was no longer fit for human consumption.


Recommendations were made for the provision of clean water sources, and on the basis of these recommendations the mine operator commenced a program to ensure the supply of clean drinking water to the participating villages for the first time in 12 years. Whilst not being perfect, relationships between the community and the mine company have drastically improved since the Ombudsman’s intervention. Communication lines have been opened up giving the community more opportunities for ongoing dispute resolution.

Contributor(s): This article was modified by Nicolaclayre (3), Jack Williams (2), Kyle (2), and (1).