By GYNNIE KERO
PRIME Minister James Marape is “pleased” with the discussions he held yesterday with the Barrick Gold Corporation chief executive officer Mark Bristow in Port Moresby, to reopen the Porgera mine.
“I was very pleased to meet with Barrick CEO Mr Bristow and his team to discuss a way forward in reopening the Porgera gold mine,” he said.
He said the discussions focused on “mutually acceptable arrangements for a new Porgera partnership to reopen and operate the mine”.
“We have agreed in principle that Papua New Guinea will take a major share of equity under the new arrangements and BNL (Barrick Niugini Limited) will retain operatorship and there will be a fair sharing of the economic benefits,” Marape said.
“This is a very significant step forward and I look forward to hearing of the outcome of further discussions on the economic principles to guide future mining operations.”
He was joined in the discussions by Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas.
Bristow, who left the country for Africa late yesterday, said he was leaving behind “a high-level team to progress negotiations”.
“I am certain that my team will be able to work with the PNG State negotiation team (to finalise) full commercial details,” Bristow said.
Marape and Bristow will meet again in the coming weeks.
“I have full confidence that we will be able to broker an historic agreement that will provide a lasting legacy and enduring partnership that will benefit our nation for many years to come,” Marape said.
Meanwhile, Environment and Conservation Minister Wera Mori said the Government was concerned about the socio-economic impact the Porgera gold mine had on the people of Enga in the past 30 years.
“We have got to conduct a socio-economic impact study the mine has had on the livelihood of the people including relocation of landowners,” he said.
“The tailings that have been discharged under a permit now have changed the course of the economic and social life of the people.
“Periodically, we as regulator monitor the conditions of the permit granted are complied with.
“The fact is that the (special mining lease) has expired and granted to Kumul Minerals Holdings Ltd (KMHL).
Now KMHL will apply to Cepa (Conservation and Environment Protection Authority) for a new permit.
“We have been monitoring for 30 years to ensure the mine operated within what has been allowed.
“We need to conduct the investigations as soon as possible.”
By GYNNIE KERO