"WATER IS PERSONAL"
PORGERA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA HIGHLANDS, 20 NOVEMBER 2010: An impoverished Papuan family illegally prospects in a mine tailings river with heavy metal laden waters on the outskirts of the Porgera Joint Venture Mine, Papua New Guinea. These empoverished people engage in illegal mining on the dumps and tailings outflow areas of the mine in order to survive. They take their five year old daughter and their 7 year old son with them on their daily mining excercises, child workers are a common site on these dumps which are both toxic and a highly dangerous illegal environment. Many of these local people sold their land to the mine for a period of the operational life of the mine. They underestimated how long the mine would keep going and the expansion of the dumping site. The Mine dumps now flow onto the last viable land of these local people and they illegally mine those dumps to eke out a living. The ability to grow vegetable gardens is very limited and there is no hunting anymore. The environmental damage caused by the Porega Mine is a major threat to this landscape and the wellbeing of the local people who have lived in harmony with their environment for centuries. The Porgera Joint Venture Mine dumps 6.2 million tons of tailings sediment into the local river system every year. Close to the mine the waters are red from these tailings and it is feared that long term damage of the river system is permanent.