PNG armed police flown to strike-hit Lihir gold mine

PORT MORESBY - Nineteen armed police were flown to the Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea and began patrolling the mine on Sunday to prevent any violence as a strike continues to halt production at one of the world’s biggest gold mines.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Sun 2 Sep 2007, 5:18 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:32 PM

Striking miners at the Lihir Gold Ltd mine told Reuters that the police were sent to ‘protect the mine’ on Saturday and not to break the strike.

Police begun patrolling the mine’s mill and other essential infrastructure on Sunday, said the miners by telephone.

The government has sent a negotiationg team to Lihir.

The mine, dug out of a long-cooled volcano on Lihir Island about 700 kms northeast of the capital Port Moresby, was expected to yield a record 800,000 to 830,000 ounces in 2007 and top 900,000 ounces in 2008, according to company forecasts.

Gold investors last week quickly scooped up more gold on international markets on news of the strike, betting gold prices would rise as long as the dispute remained unresolved.

A Lihir spokesman said on Friday that the reason for the strike had not yet been conveyed to mine officials and there were no immediate plans to declare force majeure on shipments of gold.

However, Papua New Guinea media reported that striking miners were unhappy over working conditions and a blast at the mine several months ago that allegedly injured a landowner’s child.

Miners would not return to work until the company’s chief executive, Arthur Wood, met with them to discuss their grievances, said the Post-Courier newspaper. Striking miners said on Sunday that they still wanted to talk to Wood.

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