It has been three weeks since the landslip at Lukulama on the 18/03/16 had destroyed the road to the mine site. Repairs to the road had been slow. Light vehicles had been allowed to pass through. However, not so fortunate for heavier vehicles including our bus transport which were parked at either sides of the slip. There had been reports of unsteady ground conditions recently and equipment and personnel working on the road were pulled out to a safe area. Only during dry conditions would the heavier vehicles be allowed through. These were primarily container trucks or tankers taking logistics to the mine site.
The light drizzle and the thought of the muddy condition the track would be in was an energy drainer in the making.
Day 21 – 08/14/16
The bush track that bypassed the road works had been upgraded. The locals at Lukulama placed sand bags on the mud to step on. We were greeted with a cardboard box and a contingent of locals prompting for some money to support the upgrade of the muddy track. It was an ambush. We didn’t realise the box and money collection was positioned on the top of the slope. Fortunately the locals were not demanding money from us but peacefully fundraising.
The good thing about this experience as an employee of Barrick Porgera Joint Venture is that it has allowed more interaction with other employees and contractors. With the smiling faces and greetings along the way it was assuring, knowing that we all shared a common understanding of walking across the landslip. I was quite surprised that fellow workers from other departments recognised me in the semi darkness and called out my name while I was walking down the mountain in the dark just before dawn. There was a sense of unity for everyone sharing the common experience of being out of the comfort and safety of sitting in the company hire buses. I was bound for field break soon and I was with high hopes that the situation would return back to normal by the time I had returned back to site. That is, a bus ride all the way from Point A to Point B.