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By Rocky Issou

The momentous signing of the Wafi Golpu MOU framework at the Government House was attended by Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae, Prime Minister James Marape, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. John Rosso and senior Ministers, as well as Morobe Governor Hon. Luther Wenge and members of his Provincial Executive Council.

PM Marape said PNG would win by way of:

•State and PNG gain 55 per cent of the project economics;

•State equity is at 30 per cent with 10 per cent carried;

 •The ten (10) per cent carried equity will be for Morobe and landowners;

•Two (2) per cent tax for fiscal stability is premium on top of the full 30 per cent tax to be paid;

•Royalty at three (3) per cent with no deductions;

•Additional US$394m for social community infrastructure that Newcrest and Harmony are putting on top of Government’s K1.2 billion Infrastructure and Business Development (IBD) grant;

•A local content forum will be held with developers, Morobe Provincial Government and landowners, where Government will be pushing for local content above 80 per cent in construction period all the way to operations;

•Additional profits tax was secured but dividends withholding tax was given away;

•Personal income tax was not treated as company’s contributions, unlike Lihir; and

•Special Mining Lease (SML) will be issued for only 30 months until investors do Front End Engineering Design (FEED) and Final Investment Decision (FID) to qualify them for extension. After FID, then cash call will be required from Kumul Minerals Holdings Ltd (KMHL) equity contributions.

“Today is a joyous occasion for the people of Papua New Guinea and especially Morobe, as we prepare to celebrate Easter,” Marape said.

“A framework has been established whereby Newcrest and Harmony, and the State on behalf of the Morobe Provincial Government and landowners will progress Wafi-Golpu Mine development so that it can start at the very earliest. This is a major resource, with substantial gold and copper, which will anchor our country for the next 40 years and beyond,” Marape stated.

“It took us a while to reach this stage, however good things take time. Sometimes, you have to wait for a while to get the best results, such as today’s agreement.” Marape concluded.

Marape thanked Vice-Minister for State Negotiations, Jimmy Maladina, who worked tirelessly with State Negotiations Team Chairman Dairi Vele and his team under Mining Minister Sir Ano Pala to make it possible.

According to Marape in Kina terms, this deal is K6 billion better than O’Neill’s 2018 agreement in which we had lost 10 per cent equity to the companies. This agreement is also K3 billion better than our own government’s position in April 2022.

Prime Minister concluded with an assurance that all landowners and the LLGs, Districts and Morobe Provincial Government that his government will complete the full requirements of law in respect to their consultations and meetings.

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