Different factions of landowners from Porgera keep coming out voicing their concerns about the closure of the Barrick run Porgera Mine.
While some have strongly supported the government’s action to close the mine, others are calling on the same government to reopen the mine and to allow Barrick to continue to operate the mine.
The Porgera Landowners Association has made its stance clear on this issue. It is backing the developer, Barrick Niugini Limited, and calling on the Marape government to extend the SML for Barrick and allow the Mine to resume operations.
In releasing a joint statement with Barrick Niugini Limited, the Porgera Landowner Association claim there was no proper negotiation between the developer and the government and the landowners are now suffering as a consequence of the government’s decision to not extend the SML.
The stop in mining operation has affected banking and health services in Porgera town including electricity supply for the last three months.
Barrick CEO Mark Bristow in June 2019 met with Prime Minister James Marape where Marape said the PNG Government valued Barrick’s partnership and invited the developer to submit proposals for the extension of the SML adhering to a 50-50 sharing of economic benefit.
Marape has also indicated that Barrick will be given the first consideration for partnership but under new terms specifically on the ownership of the resources.
After meeting with the State Negotiating Team, Barrick presented a 20 year plan on Porgera which would have delivered 52 per cent of overall benefits to PNG stakeholders.
But the landowners say the government is taking too long especially when the matter has been taken to court for further legal interpretation
With the matter now before the courts and mining operations ceased for over three months, Barrick estimates over K5.4 million is lost in revenue for landowners and the Enga Provinical Government each month including an additional 68 million kina loss in tax revenue collection.
Meanwhile Prime Minister James Marape maintains his initial stand that since Barrick’s SML expired on 16th August 2019, the PNG government is doing everything within its mandate to reopen the mine.