Porgera gold mine set for restart

Source: Porgera Joint Venture.

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government and Barrick Gold have formed a new partnership that will lead to the reopening of the Porgera gold mine later this year.

The Canadian operator was forced to close the mine for care and maintenance in April 2020 after the PNG Government denied an extension to the mining lease.

The mine, located 600 kilometres northwest of PNG capital Port Moresby, has produced more than 20 million ounces of gold while employing 3300 locals over the mine’s life.

Barrick Gold and China’s Zijin Mining previously owned equal stakes in Barrick Niugini, which owned 95 per cent of the Porgera JV. The remaining five per cent was shared amongst PNG stakeholders, including local landowners and the government.

Under the new partnership, those PNG stakeholders will receive 51 per cent ownership of Porgera, with the remaining 49 per cent left to Barrick Niugini.

Additional agreements were for PNG stakeholders to receive 53 per cent economic benefits over the mine’s life, with the remainder left to Barrick Niugini; for Barrick Niugini to finance the reopening; and an option for the state to acquire the whole mine after 10 years.

Barrick Gold president and chief executive Mark Bristow kept his intentions short and sweet, following the agreement.

“We intend to partner with all key stakeholders to make Porgera a world-class, long-life gold mine,” Bristow said.

PNG Prime Minister James Marape said the agreement was a great outcome for PNG and its people.

“I thank Mr Bristow and his team for recognising our nation’s aspirations and their willingness to partner with us in realising this vision at Porgera,” Marape said.

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