Barrick Gold and Papua New Guinea Progress Porgera Negotiations
Barrick Gold Corp. reported that Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape announced an imminent agreement to reopen Porgera Mine.
In a statement released on April 5, Barrick said it has continued to have constructive discussions on a framework agreement for the recommissioning of Porgera with Papua New Guinea. The mine has been on care and maintenance since April 2020.
The agreement under discussion is in line with the principles announced in October, providing for a joint venture between Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL) and the government of PNG to operate Porgera going forward on the basis of increased PNG ownership and a fair sharing of economic benefits. BNL would continue as the operator of the mine.
“We remain hopeful that we will reach agreement with the PNG Government on a long-term partnership that will see the reopening of Porgera in the near future,” Barrick said in a statement.
The world’s second-largest gold producer lost a key court challenge last year over rights to the mine which accounted for about 5 percent of Barrick’s production in 2019.
Reuters reported that in April last year, Marape refused to extend the expired mining lease held by a venture of Barrick and its partner, China’s Zijin Mining, citing environmental and social problems.
In October, however, Marape said that the venture, Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL), was set to remain operator of the Porgera gold mine following talks with Barrick CEO Mark Bristow.
Barrick said that the agreement under discussion was in line with the terms announced in October, for a joint venture between BNL and PNG to operate the mine “on the basis of increased PNG ownership and a fair sharing of economic benefits.”
The Porgera joint venture is an openpit and underground gold mine in the Enga province of Papua New Guinea, about 600 kilometers north-west of Port Moresby.