Business News

Barrick-China Ties: Ipatas Raises Concerns

by Delly Waigeno – EM TV, Port Moresby

Barrick Gold Corporation recently announced a strategic partnership with a leading Chinese mining company, Zijing Mining Group.

Zijing will acquire 50 per cent of Barrick (Niugini) Limited, which is the majority owner and manager of the Porgera Joint Venture Gold Mine in PNG.

Barrick Chairman, John L Thornton, said a 21st century mining company with the intention to become a global industrial leader, must have a distinct relationship with China.

When announcing the partnership, Barrick said it has signed a long-term strategic co-operation agreement. The agreements outline the intent of both companies to collaborate on future projects and joint investments.

But the announcement also sparked questions in parliament from the Governor for Enga Province, Peter Ipatas.

He said, landowners have taken issues with the state and Barrick, over the last few years, over environmental damage and other matters.

Mr Ipatas said, he was reliably informed that the Chinese company does not have an impressive record.

He asked if the government was going to do anything about these reports in terms of establishing whether the company is credible. Mining Minister, Byron Chan, said he was not aware of all the mentioned incidents, but indicated trust in Barrick’s decisions.

Mr Chan went on to point out that Zijin Mining Group has a large portfolio and has been operating for 20 years.

Barrick has said that combining Barrick’s experience and track record of operating success in PNG with Zijin’s strong cost management capabilities will help to unlock the full value of this mine for the benefit of all stakeholders.

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