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Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture, Newcrest and Harmony Gold,- through their subsidiaries have signed a Framework Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Independent State of Papua New Guinea at the Government House in Port Moresby yesterday which was attended by the Governor General, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet members and the Governor of Morobe Province.

The signing of the framework MOU is an important milestone in the process as it sets the way forward for all the stakeholders to negotiate the mining development contract, and other agreements for Wafi Golpu project.

The MOU sets out key terms to be included in the Mining Development Contract, which is a prerequisite for a Special Mining Lease (SML), including:

• State equity participation, royalty rate, tax package and term and scope of the SML.

• Key terms for other related agreements with the State, including provision for stability to underpin the significant long-term investment required to develop and operate the project.

• Commitments for the WGJV to invest in infrastructure and social development projects that will deliver long-term benefits to local communities.

• The framework for the parties to progress the permitting of the Wafi-Golpu Project as quickly as practicable in accordance with applicable regulatory processes.

Prime Minister James Marape during the signing said the Cabinet has taken note of the key terms agreed upon and embodied in the Memorandum of Understanding for the Wafi-Golpu Project and the overall increase of US$1.1 billion in proposed State Benefits achieved by the State Negotiation Team from the previous negotiation rounds.

“We have secured over 55% of the benefit split for the project and I want to appreciate our landowners, Newcrest and Harmony for giving respect to the country’s desire to get back more from our resources for our people,” PM Marape said.  

The Wafi Golpu project is the largest undeveloped gold and copper deposit and will provide enormous economic benefits to the investors, the national and provincial government, the landowners, and the country as a whole.

The Chief Executive Officer of Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited, Peter Steenkamp acknowledged Prime Minister and the team for the negotiation.

“This MOU is an important step in progressing the permitting of the Tier 1 Wafi-Golpu project, one of the world’s premier, undeveloped copper-gold deposits. I wish to thank Prime Minister Marape and his Government for the constructive manner in which they have worked with the WGJV partners and for the commitment demonstrated in advancing this important and long-awaited project,” Steenkamp said.

The Interim Chief Executive Officer of Newcrest Mining Limited, Sherry Duhe said the project has economic benefits for the state and the people.

“This MOU is a pivotal milestone towards the development of one of the world’s premier, undeveloped, copper-gold deposits. Importantly, the project will result in fair and equitable benefits for landowners, communities, local level governments, the Morobe Provincial Government and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, while also delivering strong returns for investors,” Duhe said.

The Prime Minister James Marape also recognized the critical role that the Morobe Provincial Government played in securing alignment with the national government to ensure that the project reached this point in the process.

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