This week, Barrick President and CEO Mark Bristow, along with Zijin Executive Director and Senior Vice President George Fang, met with Papua New Guinea’s new Prime Minister James Marape and reaffirmed the company’s commitment to working with the government and local communities to ensure the Porgera gold mine continues to deliver value to its stakeholders past the expiry of the current Special Mining Lease (SML) on August 16. While in the country, Bristow also held meetings with Enga Gov. Sir Peter Ipatas, Porgera landowners, and other stakeholders.
An application to extend Porgera’s SML for a further 20 years is currently in progress. Bristow said Porgera was an important long-term asset for PNG as well as the mine’s owners, Barrick Gold Corp. and Zijin Mining Group.
“The proposed extension to its lease will allow the mine to remain productive for at least another 20 years,” Bristow said. “To sustain mine operations, however, it will require a significant capital injection, and it is difficult to justify that kind of investment without the security of an extended mine lease.”
Located in the Enga Province of Papua New Guinea at an altitude of 2,200 meters (m) to 2,700 m, Porgera employs more 3,300. Since pouring its first gold in 1990, Porgera has paid more than $1.1 billion in taxes and $297 million plus $178 million in equity cash payments and royalties respectively to the provincial government and customary landowners.
Porgera is a joint venture between Barrick and the Zijin Mining Group, which each owns 47.5% with the remaining 5% interest being held by Mineral Resources Enga (owned equally by Porgera SML Landowners and the Enga Provincial Government). The mine is operated by Barrick (Niugini) Ltd.