INVESTIGATIVE journalists have raised damning allegations about ExxonMobil’s role in a landslide in Papua New Guinea which killed 27 people near the company’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) site.
The 2012 Tumbi landslide in PNG’s Hela Province buried 27 people alive. An article in US magazine The Nation now details claims from people employed by Exxon that the company received clear warnings about the dangers of a landslide, yet did nothing to stop using the quarry or to move the people living near it.
“These new allegations show that for Exxon the profit from exploiting Papua New Guinea’s gas resources comes before the needs and welfare of the local people”, said Jubilee Australia spokeswoman Kate Gauld.
The Nation story and accompanying documentary film by US freelance journalist Ian Shearn contain new allegations that ExxonMobil is arming PNG’s mobile police squads, which have been connected with human rights violations in other parts of PNG.
The stories also contain more details about problems with the Exxon project which were first raised in Pipe Dreams, Jubilee Australia’s comprehensive report on the PNG LNG project, including the flawed and inequitable nature of the agreement offered to the Hela landowners in 2009 and the large number of weapons being brought into the region by disaffected landowners.
“These revelations are a tragic realisation of the critiques and concerns Jubilee Australia has been raising about the project since 2009,” said Gauld.
“Yet Australia’s export credit agency EFIC, a little known but hugely influential government agency, lent half a billion dollars of taxpayer money to this project. The lack of transparency surrounding such deals is simply unacceptable”.
Jubilee Australia is a non-profit organisation promoting accountability for the causes of poverty and injustice in the Asia Pacific.