By CLARISSA MOI
BUSINESSES have welcomed the announcement to reopen the Porgera gold mine in Enga as this will bring in the much needed foreign exchange into the country.
Bank South Pacific group chief executive officer Robin Fleming said the signing of the framework agreement between the Government and Barrick Gold Corporation last Friday was most positive and had been well received by the business community.
“Notwithstanding that there still needs to be a more detailed agreement on certain aspects of the agreements, Friday’s announcement gives business much confidence of a process of rehabilitation of the mine commencing with a re-commissioning this year,” he told The National.
“Barrick’s stated commitment to funding the costs associated with re-commissioning is also positive, and preliminary work required to move the mine towards commencing operations will-in-itself bring much needed foreign exchange into the country.
“Businesses in Porgera and support companies, especially transportation companies will see this as a much needed boost to their businesses and of course former employees of the Porgera Joint Venture will be looking forward to rejoining the workforce.”
Brian Bell group chief executive officer Cameron Mackellar, in welcoming this news, said the country needed that now more than ever, as it “will most certainly help kick-start a somewhat subdued economy”, as well as their business, particularly in the regional locations.
“It will be great to hear when operations will resume and see the positive impacts on all those small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) who absolutely relied on Porgera operations.”
The Stanley Hotel and Suites general manager Geoff Haigh said like everyone in the hospitality industry, they were pleased with the news about the Porgera gold mine reopening. This will provide a much needed boost to the economy in general,” he said.
The Porgera chamber of commerce and industry said it was a relief to the local community and business houses in the Porgera-Laiagam and Enga.
President Nickson Pakea said the closure of the mine a year ago had severe implications on smaller businesses operating from the business spin-off catchments of the Porgera mine.
The mine has been closed and was on care and maintenance since last April over the rejection by the State to renew the special mining lease.
It is set to resume operations later this year.
As per the terms of the agreement, ownership of Porgera will be held in a new joint venture owned 51 per cent by PNG stakeholders (Kumul Mineral Holdings Ltd, Enga government and landowners) and 49 per cent by Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL).
By CLARISSA MOI