by Benny Geteng – EM TV, Port Moresby
Barrick Gold Corporation subsidiary Barrick Niugini Limited is currently in the process of transitioning the cleaning and janitorial services contract for the Porgera mine site and camps.
Effective as of the 29th of November this year, a registered non-profit organisation, the Porgera District Women’s Association (PDWA), with a current membership of more than 4,000 women, will be the contractor for cleaning and janitorial services.
The company was responding to the recent protesting of over 3,000 people from Porgera Valley calling for the removal of a cleaning contract previously held by a landowner company.
In a protest held in Porgera Town this week, directors and shareholders of Total Cleaning and House Keeping Services Limited (TCHSL) presented a petition to Barrick’s General Manager, Greg Walker.
The landowners claimed that the tender process was hijacked by Barrick and that TCHSL had not been allowed to go through the whole process, which resulted in another company being given the contract.
They said Barrick had insulted the landowners by not allowing them to participate in spin-off business opportunities in the area.
These services had previously been provided by TCHSL under a contract that expires on the 28th of November this year.
Following a review of its contractual needs, Barrick made a commercial decision to award a new contract to Ipili Wanda Investments (IWI), the commercial arm of PDWA for the labour hire component of the cleaning and janitorial services contract.
Mine management noted that the reasons for this decision were fully explained to the management of TCHSL in a meeting held earlier this month.
Awarding of the labour hire component of the contract to IWI is a demonstration from Barrick that the company is committed to encouraging, empowering, developing and working with local organisations that have a wide stakeholder base and who share the benefits derived from these opportunities with local community groups.
“In particular, it is our hope that such organisations will be able to grow and develop, resulting in further opportunities for them and the community, both on and off the mine.”
Barrick understands that the current TCHSL employees have been offered the opportunity to continue their same roles under new arrangements established by the IWI from the 29th of November.
TCHSL employees seeking to continue their same roles may register with IWI, who have confirmed that the working hours and wages of TCHSL employees continuing their roles under the new arrangements will be unchanged.