Papua New Guinea pushes for more mining development

December 5, 2022

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape urged mining companies and investors to move forward with a number of projects in the country including Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project, jointly owned by Australia's Newcrest and South Africa's Harmony Gold Mining and the Porgera gold mine, co-owned by Barrick Gold Corp. and China's Zijin Mining Group.

Reuters reported that Marape said his goal is to expand the nation's economy to 200 billion kina ($55 billion) by 2029, more than doubling its gross domestic product since he took office in 2019, with the help of five gas and mining projects.

“You must show some progress, I don't want warehousing of licenses,” Marape told a conference in Sydney, in comments directed at foreign investors.

The Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project is the biggest undeveloped mining resource in the Pacific nation. It has long been stuck on the drawing board, partly due to a battle over how big a share of the project's gold output would go to the PNG government.

“Our teams have made significant progress in recent weeks and months to find a balance. With continuing goodwill on both sides, we anticipate a positive outcome will be reached,” Newcrest Chief Executive Sandeep Biswas told the conference.

The country is also locked in talks for a special mining lease to restart the Porgera gold mine, which has been shut for more than two and a half years, following an agreement reached last year with Barrick Gold Corp and China's Zijin Mining Group.

Marape has been pressing for PNG to receive a bigger share of the benefits from mining and energy projects since he first became prime minister in 2019, and so far has succeeded in renegotiating deals with energy giants ExxonMobil Corp. and TotalEnergies on their gas projects.

 Photo: Porgera gold project


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