Canadian gold miner Barrick Gold has said that the Porgera mine operations in Papua New Guinea are set to restart this month, with first gold pour expected in the first quarter of 2024.

The announcement comes after the fulfilment of the conditions of the Porgera Project Commencement Agreement, which had also outlined a new ownership structure for the mine.

The Porgera mine is 51% owned by Papua New Guinea-based stakeholders including local landowners and the Enga provincial government.

The remaining 49% stake is held by Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL), a joint venture between Barrick and Chinese mining company Zijin.

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By GlobalData

Porgera will be operated by BNL, and Papua New Guinea shareholders will secure 53% of the mine’s total economic benefits.

Assuming a price of $1,800 per ounce of gold, the mine is expected to generate more than $7bn over a 20-year expected mine life.

Barrick president and CEO Mark Bristow said: “It has been a long journey but in the process we have secured the buy-in of all the stakeholders and we look forward to steering the mine back to world-class production. 

“It undoubtedly has the potential to join our Tier 1 gold mine portfolio, the largest of its kind in the industry.”

Bristow also stated that the mine’s reopening marks a significant milestone and its model of partnering with the host country. This model was previously successful in Tanzania and Pakistan.

Located in the province of Enga in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands, the Porgera mine has 1.2 million ounces of proven and probable reserves.

It also has 2.5 million ounces of measured and estimated resources and 820,000 ounces of inferred resources of gold.

In October this year, the company secured permission from the Government of Papua New Guinea to restart the gold mine after a three-year shutdown.

In April 2020, the government refused to provide a special mining lease to Barrick, citing environmental concerns, and had taken control of the mine.

The mine is expected to produce around 700,000 ounces of gold annually.