Newcrest, Harmony overcome Wafi-Golpu legal block

The Wafi-Golpu project. Image: Newcrest Mining

Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold are set to resume talks for the Wafi-Golpu gold-copper joint venture (JV) project in Papua New Guinea (PNG) after delays in securing project permits.

The JV partners scored a win as PNG’s national court in Lae withdrew a court order to stop judicial proceedings temporarily.

The order was originally requested by the governor of the Morobe province, who said he would be consulted during negotiation of the JV deal.

The national and Morobe Provincial Government had unresolved legal proceedings regarding the internal distribution of PNG’s economic interests in the Wafi-Golpu project, said Newcrest chief executive Sandeep Biswas during his speech at the company annual general meeting last year.

“The PNG Minister for Mining recently (advised) the Wafi-Golpu joint venture (WGJV) partners that the state of PNG had withdrawn its support for the memorandum of understanding and instructed its lawyers to take steps to set aside the stay order and terminate the judicial review proceeding,” Newcrest stated.

“As a consequence, the stay order restricting the WGJV partners from engaging in discussions with the state of PNG has been lifted.

“Newcrest, together with its WGJV partner Harmony, look forward to re-engaging with the state of PNG and progressing discussions on the special mining lease for the Wafi-Golpu project.”

Newcrest and Harmony each own 50 per cent interest in the Wafi-Golpu project through the JV.

Wafi-Golpu has an ore reserve of 5.5 million ounces of gold and 2.5 million tonnes of copper.

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