Barrick Gold Corp. reported that Papua New Guinea (PNG) Governor General Sir Bob Dabae granted a special mining lease on October 15, 2023, to New Porgera Ltd. (NPL), clearing the way for the company to restart production at the Porgera gold mine, which has been on care and maintenance for three years.

This follows the signing of a mining development contract and the conclusion of a fiscal stability agreement for New Porgera between the government and NPL. NPL is meeting with the mine property’s landowners to settle compensation agreements.

Barrick President and CEO Mark Bristow said, subject to agreement on compensation, the mine was positioned to restart before the end of this year. Recruitment was being accelerated to employ the full workforce that will be required when the mine starts ramping up operations as soon as the compensation agreements are in place.

“It’s been a long road, but the end is now in sight,” Bristow said. “Negotiations between Barrick, the government and the other stakeholders required patience and persistence but the spirit of partnership in which they were conducted eventually led to an outcome acceptable to all.”

During August, Bristow said he believed Porgera could be back in operation before the end of 2023. At the time, he said the mobile fleet and fixed plant were being recommissioned in preparation for the restart, and the mining and metallurgy plans were being updated.

PNG stakeholders own 51% of NPL with Barrick Niugini Ltd., which will operate the mine, holding 49%. Economic benefits will be shared 53% by the PNG stakeholders and 47% by Barrick Niugini.