Canada-based mining firm Barrick Gold has announced that it is about to finalise an agreement with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government to reopen the Porgera gold mine.
The mining firm cited a statement from Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, in which he said an agreement to reopen the mine was ‘imminent’.
The firm added it continued to hold ‘constructive discussions’ with the government on a framework agreement for the recommissioning of the Porgera mine.
Barrick’s lease over the gold mine expired when PNG Prime Minister James Marape refused to extend it last April.
Located in Enga Province, 600km north-west of Port Moresby, the mine has been on care and maintenance since it was closed.
The extension was reportedly denied citing environmental concerns and it was said that the government will acquire a controlling stake in the gold mine.
The latest agreement, however, will comply with the principles announced last October whereby a joint venture between Barrick Niugini (BNL) and the government of PNG will operate the Porgera mine.
It is subject to increased ownership for PNG and a fair sharing of economic benefits.
In a press statement, Barrick said: “BNL would continue as the operator of the mine. We remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement with the PNG Government on a long-term partnership that will see the reopening of Porgera in the near future.”
Equally owned by Barrick Gold and China-based Zijin Mining, BNL holds a 95% stake in the Porgera JV that owns the Porgera gold mine.
The remaining 5% stake is owned by Mineral Resource Enga, a consortium between the Enga provincial government (2.5%) and the Porgera landowners (2.5%).
Last year, Barrick Gold president Mark Bristow was reported by Reuters as saying that the company held discussions on royalty arrangements with landowners in Port Moresby, as it seeks to ‘negotiate a reopening’ of the Porgera gold mine.