Lukulama Landslip

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Part of the Landslip at Lukulama

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.

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Day 20 – 6am on the 07/04/16. Descending down the mountain towards the land slip at Lukulama
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LO, GR & JK returning from the night shift and heading back to camp for rest. Here we are standing in the middle of the newly constructed section of the road at Lukulama.
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RA on the left and JK himself.

Day 20

The light drizzle and the thought of the muddy condition the track would be in was an energy drainer in the making.

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Day 20 07/04/16 – 5pm GR, JK & LO at Suyan Camp waiting for the bus pick up to the landslip.  The light drizzle was an energy drainer thinking about the muddy condition the track would be in.
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GR, RA & LO all fresh for the night shift. Nothing was going to stop that. Not even the track.

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.

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RA & JK standing on the bags placed over the mud.
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GR & RA taking a breather along the track.
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The upgrade to the make shift track had made it easier and faster to walk.
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The bags have made it easier to walk up the slopes without slipping down into the mud. That’s JK up at the top of the hill and RA halfway up the slope.
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RA exhausted after reaching the top of the hill at Lukulama Landslip.
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The journey was not over yet. We still had to walk another 300m up this mountain to get to the pick up point where company hired buses would take us to the mine site.
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This lime stone mountain at the back of Lukulama reminds us all of the rough terrains and the eminent dangers we are faced with at Porgera Valley.

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.

 

Landslip at Porgera – Lukulama

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The newly constructed road to the Mine site at Lukulama

On the 18/04/16 a land slip occurred at the Porgera Valley on the road leading to the mine site . The Papua New Guinea Works Department and Barrick Porgera have been working night and day to fix the road but the rain and water log has been a challenge. Apparently the landowners at Lukulama are demanding compensation and while that’s being sorted out by the Company and Government reps, it’s a half kilometre hike on foot through thick, muddy grounds and up a mountain to the pickup point at the top of the hill. It’s actually a steep mountain but after arriving on site on the 30/04/16 which was Day 12 since the Landslip, it has been a walk in the back yard. The PNG Defence force and Company Reserve Police team worked with Company Community Affairs personnel to provide security along the landslip.

Day 17 was interesting.  Unfortunatly, one of my female colleagues was harassed during the hike back to camp after work.   We had merely began the hike along the muddy bush track that bypassed the road works.  Fortunately he felt out numbered and left her alone. After the incident was reported, the bush track was declared unsafe and the new road was open to mine workers to walk on the road. The locals took opportunity to follow company personnel on a much easier route.

DAY 1 Philip Hau and our day shift team going home after work. Philip Hau is the big guy in blue. Thanks for the photographs.

Day 17 Heading back to camp after work. Thanks to Desmond Poivi for the photographs. He’s camera shy.

Day 19 Heading to the mine site for the night shift. Thanks to Gregory Rovanama for the photographs. Greg is the guy between the land cruiser and the Komatsu.