An Australian man working at Barrick’s Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea has been attacked and injured by illegal workers.
The attack came after police burnt down houses believed to be belong to the illegal miners.
Local media, EMTV, reports more than 200 houses were destroyed, angering locals from the nearby Wingima village.
The Australian man sustained cuts to his head after a piece of metal was thrown during the ensuing altercation as he tried to take a photograph of the damaged dwellings.
EMTV said the man breached orders by police and ventured out of a safety zone by bribing locals to escort him to the demolition sites.
A Barrick spokesperson said the injured man received treatment in Porgera and was flown to Australia as part of a routine shift rotation.
Local MP Nixon Mangape said hundreds of families had been left homeless as a result of the police dawn raid.
Labeled “Operation Mekim Save”, police are trying to crack down on illegal miners at Barrick’s tenement.
However it is claimed the houses which were burnt belonged to local landowners from the Tiene tribe.
Mangape called on both Barrick and the PNG government to provide compensation for the burnt houses.
“This is the second time this village was burnt down. The first one was done during the first state of emergency call out operation some six years ago which never solved the problem,” Mangape said.
“Why is Barrick not looking at long term solutions like relocating the people out of the special mining lease area? Burning houses in a particular village in the special mining lease area will not solve the illegal mining problem. It’s adding more fuel to a burning fire."