“The mob was yelling and screaming behind us, carrying bush knives and spears. It wasn’t a good time to stop, so we kept driving, keeping a couple of hundred metres ahead of them. Then the chopper squeezed between the trees and landed on the road. I scrambled aboard. It had been a close call, and my non-smoking resolution fell by the wayside yet again.”
Andi Flower arrived in PNG from New Zealand in 1965 and found he had little time for the expatriate community. He had a flair for trading and developed a special affinity with the Huli people of the Southern Highlands. Then CRA found gold at nearby Mount Kare. By mid-1988 thousands of people were taking gold worth tens of millions of dollars from Mount Kare’s cold, black, glutinous mud. Conditions were truly appalling: no medics, no law enforcement and no Government presence.
The Huli people asked Andi to help them negotiate equity in the CRA mine. In the end they won 49 percent of the project but had to compete with unscrupulous opportunists that Prime Minister Rabbie Namaliu later branded as ‘spivs, crooks and carpet baggers’.
Between 1990 and 1993 Andi was subject to personal attacks, public humiliation, death threats and serial legal actions alleging impropriety, dishonesty and fraud. He saw dirty tricks, duplicity, greed and corruption on a scale he had never imagined.
This book is Andi’s story of the Mount Kare saga, told from the inside. It exposes the consequences of applying Western remedies to Melanesian problems, the destructive activities of outsiders and the greed, graft and corruption these engender.
Source: ‘How PNG gold lost its lustre’ by Greg Roberts, The Australian, 16 February 2008