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Mining

PNG Business News - June 14, 2021

Porgera Mine Reserves at 10 Million Ounces

According to Mark Bristow, president and CEO of Barrick, the Porgera gold mine has reserves of about 10 million ounces. He claimed that the 10 million ounces of resources will be enough to sustain the mine for the next 20 years. “We’ve got enough resources over 10 million ounces to be able to support a 20-year life. Reserves mean that you finance by law so we are going to redo all that because things have changed but we are very confident that we will be able to convert a lot of those resources into reserves as well so that’s our first job,” he said. Bristow stated that the business will assess the reserves and mining plans because they were only being developed as part of the renewal application before the closing last year. “Now we will refresh that and the first refreshment is in July. We’re comfortable with a 10-year plan and we’re comfortable with a conceptual 20-year plan,” he said. According to Bristow, the new Porgera structure is focused on the benefit of key stakeholders, namely the people of the host nation. He stated that the first move they will do is to begin drilling. “There will be two levels of drilling,” Bristow said. “The life of mine drilling which is to continue to make sure we’ve got visual visibility of the runway ahead of us and then what we call grade control drilling which allows us for detailed mine planning which we always draw ahead of every mining. “The important thing about mining is you consume your asset every year and if you don’t reinvest it, it dies because you don’t replace what you mine. “It’s a very important perspective to continue to reinvest in the future particularly in geology so that you replace the reserves that you are mining, it’s a consumptive industry.”   Reference: Yafoi, Melisha. Post-Courier (9 June 2021). “Porgera Reserves At 10 Million Ounces”. 

Business

PNG Business News - June 14, 2021

European Investors Expresses Interest in Building Gold Refinery in PNG

A consortium of European businessmen has indicated an interest in collaborating with the government to establish a gold refinery in Papua New Guinea. Joshua Kalinoe, PNG's Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, as well as the Commissioner-General for Expo2020, said the country is presently putting together a package on gold bullion and precious metal refinery to present at the World Expo2020 in Dubai. This is consistent with PNG's tailored strategy to its expo participation. Kalinoe believes that additional investors may be interested in working with the PNG government and people to build the refinery. Meanwhile, PNG is likely to take part in Expo2020, which will take place in Dubai in October of this year. This worldwide event was planned to take place last year, but it was postponed to this year because to COVID-19. Kalinoe believed it is critical for PNG to participate in this event in order to display its natural riches and other items.   Reference: Pacific Mining Watch. “European Investors seek interest to build Gold Refinery in PNG”.

Company

PNG Business News - June 14, 2021

KAML Makes K3.3M Profit Ending December 2020

Photo Credit: Kina Asset Management Limited - Portfolio Allocation as at 31st May 2021 For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2020, Kina Asset Management Limited made a net profit of K3.3 million. Shareholders benefited from a 6.2 per cent portfolio return in a market that has begun to recover from the significant drops saw in the first quarter of 2020. As of December 31, 2020, the company's net assets were K78.3 million, up 5.5 per cent from the previous year. With the world economy recuperating from the COVID-19 pandemic and the early-year financial market meltdown, Chairman Sir Rabbie Namaliu warned 2020 will be a difficult year for KAML shareholders. Sir Rabbie stated that the firm has fared well in adverse market conditions and is well-positioned for the challenges that lay ahead. The company's success in 2020, according to the study, reflects its strategic investment approach, which focuses on long-term holdings of top enterprises in PNG and Australia, delivering excellent returns in growing markets while reducing downside in more tough market situations. The main components of the result were K5.2 million in capital losses due to declines in the values of most of the company's stock holdings. Bank South Pacific (K0.3 million) and Credit Corp (K0.2 million) in PNG, as well as CSL (K0.2 million) and ResMed (K0.1 million) in Australia, were among the few corporations to declare increases. Sir Rabbie stated that the business does not trade the securities that make up its portfolio since it is a long-term investment. Kina Funds Management Limited, the company's investment manager, takes a long-term perspective of markets and investments and builds a portfolio appropriately.   Reference: Post-Courier (10 June 2021). “KAML records K3.3M Profit”. 

Energy

PNG Business News - June 14, 2021

PNG Power Undergoes ISO Certification

PNG Power Limited will be subjected to an evaluation by its asset management standard unit in order to receive ISO 55001 certification. A third party will undertake the assessment and ISO 55001 certification process, which will take 12 to 18 months and include an evaluation of the company's present AM practices and processes, identification of gaps, and development of a roadmap for adoption. This will be the first phase in PNG Power's ISO 55001 accreditation process, which will be supported by USAID's PNG Electrification Partnership (USAID-PEP). The company's old and old infrastructure assets, according to PPL managing director Flagon Bekker, have continued to obstruct the delivery of dependable power to clients across the country. PNG Power has taken the first step forward in commencing the Asset Management Strategy and Framework for Management of PNG Power Infrastructure Assets, he added, under its new asset management (AM) unit. He explained that ISO 55001 accreditation is vital because it ensures that PNG Power has an asset management system (AMS) in place that caters for internal and external challenges influencing asset management in order to meet the company's goals. Risk management, ageing/aged infrastructure, supply chain and spares maintenance, maintenance optimisation, AM performance monitoring, and project/investment lifecycle assessment and planning are the six workstreams that the AM unit will focus on. PNG Power's asset management will be based on these workstreams. On the leadership front, it will be ensured that senior management has accepted responsibility for developing and communicating the AM Policy and Strategic Asset Management Plans to all stakeholders involved. The accreditation will also provide confidence that AM objectives have been defined, recorded, and disseminated within the organization, as well as that adequate planning has been put in place to meet the goals. PNG Power is also sponsored by the World Bank under its Energy Utility Performance and Reliability Improvement Project (EUPRIP) to strengthen infrastructure through rehabilitation and upgrade works, therefore the support from PEP is expected to complement the asset management strategy. PNG Power is also working with USAID PEP Activity to improve grid home connections, and the AM effort will guarantee that quality and dependable power reaches end customers.

Business

PNG Business News - June 11, 2021

Prime Minister says no regime change to happen without consultation with industry

Prime Minister James Marape has said that there will be no change in the benefit sharing regimes currently being used in the mining and petroleum sectors, without extensive consultation with all players in the resources sector. Prime Minister Marape delayed his planned meeting in Porgera toward the end of last week to be present at the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum’s first Webinar Event for the year. He delivered the keynote address with the reassurance of the government’s recognition that the mining and petroleum sector remains the number one economic sector in the country. “On record, the mining and petroleum sector remains our number one economic sector in our country, and that is acknowledged, and will remain so, and our government will do everything possible to ensure that the sector is not harmed.” On the back of industry having to cope with major uncertainty over proposed changes to the Organic Law on Ownership of Minerals and Hydrocarbons, and the introduction of a fiscal regime change for the sector for the past 12 months, Prime Minister Marape also reassured the sector, that all stakeholders would be consulted. “Whether it’s a production sharing regime or a hybrid between production sharing and existing regimes, I think there is a view that I take from these presentations thus far that the signal we are giving is not absolutely clear, and so I will take the month of June to ensure that the clarity is made to the mining and petroleum sector with respect to the direction we are trying to go into but for this occasion and a taker right now let me inform every one, regime change is not taking place as yet, the intention is there but whatever form it will take place, as I said earlier, 2025 is an important benchmark date,” the prime minister said, after participating in the events three key presentations. PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Council Member, John Chambers of Santos, presented discussions on the true value of the mining and petroleum sector. “According to the World Bank, PNG is in the ‘Top Ten’ of most Resource Industry-dependent economies in the world. We cannot underestimate the importance of the resource sector to the PNG economy. “Continued investment in resources, plus diversification of the economy, need to occur in parallel,” Mr. Chambers said, while highlighting that financial institutions like ANZ have estimated that the resource sector’s total contribution to GDP 1.3 times its direct contribution to GDP. Mr. Chambers explained that fiscal regimes need to balance state and landowners’ interests with investment risks and returns. He stressed that higher taxed regimes, would result in no exploration or projects being sanctioned; that resource sector stability was important in the areas of policy and legislation; and that the current tax royalty system used in PNG is the only regime in the world, which provides landowners with a share of cashflows from resource projects. The two other main presentations were from global industry research and analysis organisations, Wood Mackenzie, who explained that different fiscal system designs can be employed to deliver a ‘fair share of returns’ while stressing the point that governments and oil and gas companies are usually closely aligned in their objectives on return on investment. MineHutte UK focused on the need for countries to achieve a balanced legal framework, and that reform efforts built around the introduction of Production Sharing Arrangements (PSAs) would not be viewed as balanced, and would hinder, rather than help a country’s mineral sector. MineHutte presented world examples of countries who had tried using PSAs in their mining sectors, and who had all, eventually reverted to their previous regimes, because of the negative impacts they experienced. Prime Minister Marape, in responding to the presentations, said he would ensure that there is stronger collaboration with industry on any and all proposed reforms.” “I would like to encourage investors who are tuning in from across the world, in these times of COVID19 sensitivities, we have been, and are still open for business. I will bring further clarity to the reforms we have planned, and with consultation with the mining and petroleum sector in the next month or two. “Toward the end of June or July, the industry will know with clarity, what the government wants for the sector. It does not dilute the fact that PNG remains a very robust place of investment, and we are open for business.” Chamber Vice President Leon Buskens was sincere in his closing remarks, in recognizing the importance Prime Minister Marape had given to the event. “Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your opening remarks, and for your closing remarks. We have listened, and heard loud and clear the assurances you have given the industry to work together, and importantly, you mentioned the deep consultation process. “We are all on the same page, and the strategic intent of the Chamber is to ‘create understanding of the importance of the industry, and to build local expertise, to attract investment, and to empower Papua New Guinea to capture sustained, nation-building benefit from our natural resources’.

Company

PNG Business News - June 09, 2021

Ok Tedi Commemorates World Environment Day

Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) commemorated the World Environment Day on June 5th by planting over 1,000 trees in Tabubil, and at its Mine Waste Management project site at Bige located 80 kilometres downriver from the mine. In line with this year’s World Environment Day (WED) Theme ‘Ecosystem Restoration’, the Bige project is testament of the company’s commitment to rehabilitate and restore the ecosystem that is impacted by the mining operations. The dredging project was established in 1997 as one of OTML’s mitigation measures to reduce impacts on the environment and the livelihoods of the people that rely on the river system. The dredge removes at least 10 million cubic meters of sand annually which reduces riverbed levels and prevents overbank flooding and forest dieback from occurring. The dredged sand is hydraulically placed in engineered stockpiles on the east and west banks at Bige covering an area of 1000 ha of land that had been impacted by dieback in the mid[1]1990s. Since the commencement of the dredge operations, over 200 million cubic metres of material have been dredged from the lower Ok Tedi river. In a statement, the OTML Environment Department Manager, Jesse Pile said, “After more than two decades of dredging, at a cost of USD55 Million per annum, the riverbed levels have reduced by 2 to 4 metres in the lower Ok Tedi, and have stabilised, including in the Middle Fly region.” “Overbank flooding and the associated forest dieback have decreased compared to 1996/1997 period and recovery of some forest species are observed in the lower Ok Tedi and upper Middle Fly River as a result of bed level reduction.” This year the OTML Environment Department was unable to engage in other activities such as conducting school essay competitions and doing clean-a-thons due to COVID-19. “Our celebration this year was low key with the COVID-19 restrictions and control measures at our operational sites and in Tabubil.” Mr Pile said.

Mining

PNG Business News - June 08, 2021

PM Marape: Changes Coming, but Industry will Know When

Prime Minister James Marape has confirmed changes are coming to the country’s regulatory and fiscal regimes for the mining and petroleum industries, but also assured businessmen that Papua New Guinea would honor all its commitments under the law and the industry would be consulted closely for any changes. Speaking in a webinar organized by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Marape underscored that the mining and petroleum sector “remains our number one economic sector in our country and that is acknowledged and that will remain so.” “The government acknowledges the important contribution the mining and petroleum sector provides to the country and to the economy. Without this sector, our country would be far behind in terms of our economic performance and in terms of service delivery by the government to our people,” he said. Following recent disruptive moves to increase local participation in the Porgera gold mine and government-induced delays to gas projects, he also moved to reassure the industry that his government was still in favour of foreign investment in the sector. Under the theme ‘Resource Industry – Making It Work for PNG’ the PNG CMP webinars have consistently tried to establish a shared credible public platform to meaningfully discuss the sustainability of the country’s resources sector. Marape agreed with this and said: “My advocacy has sometimes been misconstrued. We’re not in the business of scaring our foreign investors. We’re in the business of working with them to maximise revenues for our country: from tax, rents, rates, or from the many businesses that stem from our projects.” Any current mining projects would be protected from future changes to the country’s mining laws, the PM said to reassure miners. “Any current mining development contract will run its full course because they were executed under the current [legislative] regime,” Marape said. ‘We are a robust country, a democratic country and a country that respects the rule of law. We will honour agreements we have signed with our investors and give ample signal to our investors of any changes.” The premier noted that 2025, or the 50th year of PNG’s independence, would be the crucial year when these changes would take place.

Mining

PNG Business News - June 08, 2021

PNG Chamber Shoots Down PSA Regime Proposal

Prime Minister James Marape said the government could look at a hybrid tax regime for mining and oil and gas after members of the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum pointed out the flaws of a production sharing agreement (PSA) system. John Chambers, the general manager of Santos in PNG, warned that PSA-style regimes had been detrimental to other countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Brazil. Speaking on behalf of the PNG Chamber, Chambers also warned that any changes to PNG’s current regimes would "impact near-term investment unless you can define how that new regime is going to be and articulate it properly." In the PNG Chamber's webinar, Marape confirmed that changes to the country’s regulatory and fiscal regimes for PNG’s mining and petroleum sector were being drafted and would be circulated soon. But he has also reassured the sector that the changes would be made "in consultation" with them and implemented by 2025, PNG's 50th year of independence. To support Chambers' argument against a PSA, the group heard from two organisations on the regime's downside Chris Graham, Wood Mackenzie’s Vice-President for Energy Consulting, Asia Pacific, said successful PSAs placed a greater administrative burden on government. Emma Beatty, Director of Research at MineHutte, said 99 per cent of countries with active mining industries had a royalty and tax-based system and that PSAs "made projects harder to finance for miners, because lenders didn’t understand them." Due to their greater complexity, PSAs also could exclude smaller junior mining companies, Beatty noted. The Marape government has been looking at introducing PSAs into its new resources laws, which the PNG Chamber and the industry has generally opposed . Under a PSA, the State maintains ownership of its mineral resources but engages a developer to run a resources project, in return for a share of production. That, however, is a shift away from the current regime, where a developer controls the resources in return for paying various taxes and rents, and granting the State a mandatory minority share in any project. Following the Chamber's presentations, Marape conceded that PSAs "may not be the way to go" and suggested that a "hybrid" system might work better for PNG. There was no change to the current regime as yet, the Prime Minister told the audience, but that the intention was there as he welcomed the "healthy debate and consultation." "But, whatever form it [reform] takes, 2025 is the benchmark date," he said.

Business

PNG Business News - June 07, 2021

New Chinese Ambassador Begins PNG Position

Zeng Fanhua, the People's Republic of China's new ambassador, recently submitted the letter of accreditation to Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae, the country's head of state. Ambassador Zeng succeeds Ambassador Xue Bing, who was recalled after completing his service in Papua New Guinea. Ambassador Zeng stated the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, who visited the nation in November 2018, offered greetings to the Governor-General, the Government, and the people of Papua New Guinea while handing the letter of credential to the Governor-General. He described Papua New Guinea as a significant Pacific island nation that has gone a long way in preserving its sovereignty and independence while advancing socially. Ambassador Zeng stated that China and PNG are members of the Asia-Pacific region and that the people of the two countries have had a long-standing relationship since the establishment of diplomatic ties in October 1976. During President Xi's state visit to PNG in 2018, the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership based on mutual respect, ushering in a new chapter in bilateral relations with fruitful outcomes in the areas of energy, resources, infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and other practical cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. These, he noted, contributed to the people's well-being as well as the region's economy and stability. Ambassador Zeng stated that in the battle against Covid-19, China and PNG have stood united in their efforts to strengthen bilateral relationships. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the 15th Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, saying that he will do all possible throughout his term to foster a win-win partnership between the two countries. Ambassador Zeng stated that he hopes to work with PNG to execute major agreements reached by the two countries' leaders, enhance friendly interactions and cooperation in a variety of sectors, and help the China-PNG Comprehensive Strategic Partnership continue to thrive. He also stated that he would require the assistance of the PNG government.   Reference:  Elapa, Jeffrey. Post-Courier (2 June 2021). “New Ambassador For China Takes Up PNF Post”.

Agriculture

PNG Business News - June 07, 2021

K1.2 Million Set Aside For Cocoa Development

In Bogia, Madang Province, K1.2 million has been set aside for cocoa development. This money came from the PNG Cocoa Board, which contributed K600,000, and the Bogia District Development Authority, which contributed another K600,000. Boto Gaupu, the chief executive officer of the Cocoa Board, stated that they are willing to collaborate with the Bogia district to grow coconut and cocoa. “PNG Cocoa Board is serving the same clients and as to the district by working with the farmers at the village level and revive cocoa which was one of the commodities grown in the area for many years,” he said. “We are committing K600,000 to the district of which K100,000 will be initially presented for the purpose of reviving cocoa and other cash crops in Bogia, Madang Province.” The district is also dedicated to working with any government and non-government organizations, according to Bogia MP Robert Naguri, and the cocoa board's involvement will go a long way. He claims that this will assist more than 100,000 people in the provinces of Bogia and Madang. “We are also committing K100,000 through the district development authority and that will help support the initial work to be carried out in the district.” He stated that this is the start of a new path for Bogia, and that the resuscitation of cash crops such as coconut and cocoa in the area will pave the way for socio-economic growth.   Reference: Tom, Patrick. Post-Courier (2 June 2021). “K1.2 Million For Bogia Cocoa Development.”

Agriculture

PNG Business News - June 07, 2021

Government Continues Delivery of Fresh Produce Under MoA

The government has agreed to continue delivering fresh food and vegetables from Lae to Port Moresby under a memorandum of understanding with Bismarck Maritime Ltd. Commerce and Industry Minister Sam Basil and Bismarck Maritime managing director Hamish Sharp signed the agreement. It comprises a subsidy for fresh food and vegetables to be transported by sea to Oro Bay, Alotau ports, and Port Moresby. During the early days of the Covid-19, the Department of National Planning and Monitoring established a transportation freight subsidy to maintain food security. It was a success thanks to the help of people in the Highlands and Morobe who grew the veggies, as well as purchasers, land transport providers, vegetable wholesalers and shops, and customers in the National Capital District. “I am advised that the K6 million expended resulted in an economic impact in excess of K50 million,” Basil said. He told the department's interim secretary, Joseph Vutliu, to find money to keep the freight subsidy program going. The possibility to provide maritime transportation "on subjects connected to food security and nutrition" was welcomed by Bismarck Maritime Ltd managing director Hamish Sharp.  “The fact that this is resulting in cash in the pockets for many players along the supply chain is very welcome,” he said. “We naturally think this is a very good initiative and would be glad to continue the fresh produce and vegetables sea transportation. “We will be pleased to include and involve Northern and Alotau in this new arrangement as both are natural ports to stop en route from Lae to Port Moresby and back.”   Reference: The National (1 June 2021). “Govt, firm seal deal to transport goods”.

Energy

PNG Business News - June 07, 2021

Decision To Discontinue Power Purchase Agreement "Unethical”

PNG Power Ltd's decision to cancel a power purchase agreement (PPA) with PNG Biomass, which was signed six years ago, is immoral, according to Aitape-Lumi MP Patrick Pruaitch. He said that the biomass project was well-conceived and performed, and it would have benefited communities and landowners. He claimed that PNG Power and the government delayed final project clearances. He said that terminating the PPA was immoral since it had allowed PNG Biomass to complete feasibility studies and begin planning and execution, including a sustainable tree farming initiative with local landowners, at a significant expense. Landowners utilized their first land rental payments from PNG Biomass three years ago to purchase a three-tonne truck, providing an economic stream for the local community, as a result of these commitments. Local farmers have been able to develop a thriving honey business employing native stingless bees, with additional large profits from "intercropping," thanks to technical aid from PNG Biomass.  According to Pruaitch, the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission authorized a US54c (K1.89) per kilowatt-hour reference pricing for the Ramu grid in August 2016 based on the PPA signed by PNG Power with PNG Biomass.   Reference: The National (3 June 2021). “MP says PPL’s decision to end deal was ‘unethical’”

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Business

PNG Business News - June 07, 2021

Industry Expert: Resource Projects Should Continue

If Papua New Guinea wants to maintain its economy, resource projects should continue to come online, according to an industry expert. This was said by Chris Chambers, Santos PNG's general manager and a PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum council member,  during the chamber's webinar series. He stressed the need for collaboration between the government and the industry in securing pipelines.  “It is also important to see that sanctioning of large projects such as the PNG LNG gives a very quick economic fill up to the economy as getting taxes, (the different taxes) and increase in employment,” he said.  The resource business accounts for 88 per cent of the country's overall export and 28 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, according to a snapshot of a study from the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Institute (PNG EITI). According to the World Bank, PNG is one of the top ten resource-dependent economies in the world. “It’s not necessarily a great thing, but it’s something we have to work within and try to maximise,” Chambers said.   The following are some of the country's noteworthy resource projects: The gold mine Porgera in Enga, which is set to reopen later this year; The Wafi-Golpu project, worth US$5.4 billion (K154.91 billion), is located in Morobe's Huon Gulf and Wau-Bulolo districts. Harmony Gold Mining Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd have a 50/50 stake in this large-scale underground mining operation. The US$12 billion (K41.38 billion) Papua LNG project, which will be operated by Total E&P PNG Ltd;  The US$9.2 billion (K31.67 billion) P'nyang gas project, which is jointly owned by ExxonMobil and Oil Search;  The PASCA A Petroleum project in the Gulf;  Others include the Frieda River copper and gold project in East and West Sepik, as well as GeoPacific Resources Ltd's K420 million Woodlark project in Milne Bay. Prime Minister James Marape stated that the government will continue to work on the Wafi-Golpu project as well as other outstanding resource projects. “We have already issued an environmental permit and we will progress Wafi-Golpu after Porgera is moved,” he said. “In the petroleum space, Pasca has been discussed. We thank ExxonMobil for reopening discussions on P’nyang, and we are remobilizing for Papua LNG.  We have been active in business in the midst of Covid-19 as far as the mining and petroleum sector is concerned.”  According to Marape, the government welcomes and will work with all investors in the nation since they are entitled to a high return on investment while also ensuring that locals get a fair part of the resources.   Reference: Moi, Clarissa. The National (7 June 2021). “Bring in more projects: Expert”.

Mining

PNG Business News - June 07, 2021

Porgera's Success is with the Government

The national and provincial governments, as well as the landowners, are all responsible for the success of the "new Porgera" mine, according to Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL). Before the mine reopened at the end of the year, BNL president and CEO Mark Bristow said unlawful mining and lawlessness in the region needed to be handled. He reminded the inhabitants of Porgera at Paiam that as owners and partners, “we can all work together to achieve the promise of this asset for the benefit of everyone.” The Framework Agreement, he added, "creates a new paradigm for agreements between PNG and the world's major resource firms based on a fair and equal sharing of benefits and obligations." PNG stakeholders would possess a 51 per cent ownership part in the mine under the terms of the deal, with BNL staying as the operator. According to Bristow, the mine's entire economic advantages would be shared over the following 20 years, with 53% going to PNG and 47% to BNL. PNG stakeholders would have the option of purchasing the BNL's 49 per cent equity at the conclusion of the first ten years.   Reference: Kero, Gynnie. The National (7 June 2021). “Mine success rests with govts, landowners: BNL”.

Mining

PNG Business News - June 07, 2021

Cost of Reopening Porgera Mine Roughly K1.052 Billion

According to Mark Bristow, president and chief executive officer of Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL), the cost of restarting the Porgera mine is roughly US$300 million (K1.052 billion). Bristow indicated that just caring for the mine cost BNL US$120 million (K421 million) and that restarting mining operations at Porgera would cost another US$180 million (K625 million). The sooner the mine reopened, he argued, the better. “I just came back from a meeting to restart the mine. It takes a lot of work to get this mine up and running,” he said. “The world’s mining (industry) is in a boom. So we have to compete with a hot industry at the moment.”  He added that the firm had begun to take in back the workers and employees.  “One of the things we were not prepared to do was to put people at risk when the mine was closed,” he said. “So we retrenched everyone who wasn’t required for care and maintenance and paid them their full dues. When we start the new Porgera it will be a new vehicle. Those who had been working for us will receive their dues, and then everyone starts (afresh).” “As soon as we finalise the documents and create the new company, we will start with fresh employment. We want to employ Porgera people first and other Papua New Guineans second.”  Barrick had 800 employees at the time, some of them were contract workers. “We need to employ another 800 at the end of this year, then another 1,000,” he said. “I’m back in July, the team is working on the prestart.  In 10 days’ time, we will have all drafts ready for negotiation.”  The mine was shut down in April of last year owing to a disagreement between the government and BNL.   Reference: Kero, Gynnie. The National (7 June 2021). “Mine opening at K1.05bil”.

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