The process of re-opening the Porgera gold mine under the terms of the binding framework agreement between the government and operator Barrick Niugini (BNL) took a major step forward with a discussion between Barrick President and Chief Executive Mark Bristow, Prime Minister James Marape and the various Porgera Landowners groups.

The framework agreement provides that Porgera will be owned by a new joint venture held 51% by Papua New Guinea (PNG) stakeholders and 49% by BNL, with BNL continuing as the operator. 

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The framework agreement also calls on the Porgera Landowners and the Enga Province to have a dialogue to determine how the 10% ‘protected equity’ which forms part of PNG’s 51% interest will be allocated.

Speaking at the event, which was attended by Prime Minister James Marape, Enga Governor Peter Ipatas and local Member of Parliament Tomait Kapili, Bristow said the agreement made each of the parties — the landowners, the national government, the province and BNL — a committed stakeholder responsible for the long-term success of the mine.

“In aligning our interests, it recognizes the importance of the landowners and the communities, and prioritizes the benefits they will receive, not only from the mine but from a new Porgera Development Fund that will invest tens of millions of Kina in promising local projects. 

In addition, BNL is committed to giving preference to competitive local contractors and suppliers and to employing Porgerans first. With BNL as operator, Porgera will also redouble its efforts to be a responsible steward of the environment,” he said.

“The road to re-opening is a long one, and between the state, local communities and BNL, the implementation details of the agreement still need to be finalized. However, if all parties work together uninterrupted in the spirit of partnership envisaged by the agreement, our hope is that the mine will be able to restart later this year. It is no small task. But we are committed to playing our part, so that the new Porgera can realize its extraordinary potential and deliver decades of value to the people of the Porgera Valley, Enga, Papua New Guinea and the shareholders of BNL.”

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On 1 January 2019 a new Barrick was born out of the merger between Barrick Gold Corporation and Randgold Resources. Shares in the new company trade on the NYSE (GOLD) and the TSX (ABX). The merger has created a sector-leading gold company which owns five of the industry’s Top 10 Tier One gold assets (Cortez and Goldstrike in Nevada, USA (100%); Kibali in DRC (45%); Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali (80%); and Pueblo Viejo in Dominican Republic (60%)) and two with the potential to become Tier One gold assets (Goldrush/Fourmile (100%) and Turquoise Ridge (75%), both in the USA). With mining operations and projects in 15 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Dominican Republic, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, USA, and Zambia, Barrick has the lowest total cash cost position among its senior gold peers and a diversified asset portfolio positioned for growth in many of the world’s most prolific gold districts.