In Papua New Guinea (PNG), mining has been surrounded by controversy related to its environmental and social impacts for several decades. In this context, the research reported herein is an investigation of the way in which mining has impacted on poverty in two large mining regions at Ok Tedi and Porgera. We surveyed 609 households, of which 309 were in indigenous mining communities and 300 were in non-mining indigenous communities, across the two regions. To compare these households, logistic regression and propensity score matching methods were used. Based on the sustainable livelihood framework, the analysis focused on four important metrics: the rich–poor ladder to understand the communities’ views of their own affluence, level of education, food eaten in the last 30 days and income satisfaction (or satisfaction derived from a given level of income). The results overall suggest that mining does reduce poverty and improve welfare, but the differences between mining and non-mining villages, such as average level of education, are small. This research work is first of its kind to examine the economic impacts of mining in PNG using the propensity score matching method.