Is sustainable development a faceless rhetoric? : an assessment of educational sustainability at the Porgera Mine, Papua New Guinea : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment for the requirement for the degree of Master of Philosophy (Development Studies) at Massey University, Palmerstone [i.e. Palmerston] North, New Zealand, March 2011
Mining development has no doubt contributed immensely to the local and national economies throughout the world and has transformed many developing countries to be developed. In Melanesia especially Papua New Guinea, a number of large scale world class mines occur in remote, isolated locations where the local communities are often vulnerable, poor, illiterate and do not have access to basic government services (for many years). When mining operations arrive in their locality, local people see and recognize mining as the only development opportunity and hope for improved livelihoods.
However, the social and environmental impacts and disruptions of livelihoods from those large scale mines are often severe and can last a life time. Many local people do not realize these consequences in the first instance. In a bid to help maintain people’s livelihoods, the package of mine benefits for local communities typically includes sustainable development projects and programmes devised by companies. Most of these benefits are corporate gestures colorfully written up in company sponsored reports in contrast to the realities experienced in the communities. There is little literature written on the realties and impacts of mine benefits on the livelihoods of local people and their experiences from their perspectives. This research attempts to address these issues in the context of the education sector and explore experiences and perceptions of locals in view of post mining.
This study looks at the education sector within the Porgera gold mine in Enga Province in PNG. The focus is on landowner communities and stakeholders’ attitudes and commitments towards enhancing the education sector from a sustainable development perspective for the local people. Qualitative research methods were used for this study, mainly semi-structured interviews and obtaining information from the key stakeholders involved within the Porgera community education system. The findings from this study indicate that, although substantial benefits and resources appear to be available, the education sector has not been given adequate support in a systematic and coordinated manner which has led to the future of the education sector being uncertain and unsustainable in light of preparations towards mine closure.