Dates: Jan 2011 - Jan 2013

Region: South Pacific

Theme: Indigenous Peoples and Cultural Heritage

The Lihir Island Group, located in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, is host to a large-scale gold mining operation that is currently owned and operated by Newcrest Mining Ltd (NML). These islands have seen great change in their social and cultural heritage since mining first began in 1995. In response to this, the Lihir people have set up the Lir Kalsarel Eritij Asosiesen (Lihir Cultural Heritage Association), which works closely with the Newcrest Cultural Awareness Office and the Lihir Sustainable Development Plan.

The establishment of the Lir Kalsarel Eritij Asosiesen is a significant step forward for cultural heritage management in the resource development context. Cultural heritage work on Lihir has been described and prioritised in the Lihir Cultural Heritage Plan, a document first drafted in March 2009 during a ‘Stepping Stones for Heritage’ workshop run by an Australian based company, Stepwise Heritage and Tourism. This document guides the work of the Lihir Cultural Heritage Association and its local partners. Key aspects of Lihirian cultural heritage that are being addressed include efforts to safeguard the Lihirian language, the documentation of cultural practices once common in the island group, and the promotion of an understanding and respect for Lihirian culture both amongst expatriate and national residents within the island group and the wider world.

Project Aims

  • To facilitate Lihirian cultural heritage activities as detailed in the Lihir Cultural Heritage Plan and to enable skills transfer during these activities; and to research and publish on these activities and Lihirian cultural heritage as a whole, in order to better understand the challenges to cultural heritage in the mining context.

Project Partners

  • Newcrest Mining Ltd
  • Lihir Sustainable Development Plan
  • Lihir Cultural Heritage Association
  • Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research
Lihir Cultural Heritage Program
Jan 2011
Jan 2013

Lihir Cultural Heritage Program