Prime Minister, James Marape, has announced that the PNG Government is poised to sign an agreement with Barrick Gold for the reopening of Porgera Gold Mine in Enga Province.
His announcement comes 12 months after the mine was closed last April over non-renewal of the mining lease by the State.
In announcing the negotiations between the State and Barrick, Prime Minister, James Marape, said Papua New Guinea would receive a “far superior deal” than what it received in the 31 years of operation from 1989 to 2021.
The Prime Minister announced that within the principles of his Government, which includes getting more from the country’s natural resources, PNG is now in a better position to sign an agreement with Barrick for what will be a new Porgera.
“I can assure our country that this is a far-superior and better deal, meaning our landowners and Enga Provincial Government will get more, and the balance of equity through Kumul Minerals will mean we hold majority in equity.
“Other benefits includes securing an increased and upfront tax with no concession as is the case with other resource projects, an increase in royalties as well as a better handle on environment and resettlement issues at Porgera and a Barrick exit option.
“Those are some core issues I was not going to compromise on and I am happy to announce that we are almost there.”
The Prime Minister stated that Kumul Mineral Holdings, the company that was initially granted the Special Mining Lease (SML) to begin operations at Porgera was due to start however, work was delayed due to numerous court files slapped on the State by Barrick.
These court cases led the state to renegotiate with Barrick.
“We realised that these court cases could have dragged on for years, so we have reached out for a possible commercial negotiation with Barrick,” he said.
PM Marape emphasized that the Government has not and will not compromise the core principles aligned with the ‘Take Back PNG’ slogan.
“Those principles were outlaid to Barrick as conditions to start commercial negotiations.
“And to date, under Mr Mark Bristow of Barrick Gold, they viewed our nation’s principles with respect.
“We are almost at the point of signing an agreement with Barrick.
“If the last round of negotiations are good, then I intend to meet Enga Provincial Government on all SML and Leases for Mining Purposes (LMP) , plus impact area landowners at the earliest to discuss on the benefit sharing.
“Let me assure my landowners:there is more for you.
“Let me assure Enga: there is more for you.
“Let me assure PNG: we are restarting Porgera to a better deal for all of us, with better project economics for the county.
PM Marape thanked Barrick Gold CEO, Mark Bristow, for understanding his vision and desire to take back more of the country’s resources for PNG.
He also thanked Enga Governor, Sir Peter Ipatas, Mining Minister, Johnson Tuke, Minister for Kumul Minerals, Tomait Kapili and other ministers, as well as all Government officials led by the Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele for negotiations thus far.
“To those who questioned Government and Kumul Minerals Holdings on why this turn in Porgera, I inform all that we have every capacity to operate Porgera like we are doing in Ok Tedi right now.
“But with Barrack’s court cases, we had to go down this path.
Marape said, Barrick has agreed with on an exit option in the new Porgera agreement 10 years from now.