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MRA Seeks Views Over Simberi Gold Project

by PNG Business News - March 29, 2021

The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) is gathering feedback from all project stakeholders involved in the Simberi gold mine in New Ireland to determine the best course of action for the amended memorandum of agreement (MoA).

The National Executive Council (NEC) authorised the updated MoA for signing in April 2017, according to managing director Jerry Garry. Since then, he said, several efforts by the MRA to get the parties to sign the 2017 Simberi revised MoA have failed since the New Ireland government (NIPG) has refused to sign.

The New Ireland government's reason for refusing to sign the amended deal, according to Garry, is that its proposal for expanded compensation was not taken into account.

“The benefits include royalties, special support grants and the tax credit scheme,” he said. “The State maintained its position that the current rates stipulated under relevant laws would remain until such time these rates were reviewed.”

NIPG's requests, according to Garry, were for a 10% royalty limit, up from the 2% prescribed rate; a 10% special support grant (SSG), up from the 0.25 per cent prescribed rate; and a 10% tax credit scheme (TCS), up from the 0.75 per cent prescribed rate.

Last year, NIPG sent the suggested amendments to the Office of the State Solicitor (OSS) for legal approval through an NEC request.

“The OSS advised that the Simberi revised MoA was approved by the NEC in 2017 and had gone through the legal and the established MoA vetting process and that all parties should sign,” he said. “The MRA is currently in the process of seeking the views of all project stakeholders on what would be the appropriate action to take in respect to the 2017 Simberi revised MoA. (This is) because it has been five years since the MoA was agreed on by the stakeholders to the Simberi project. The duration of the revised MoA is five years and the term has naturally lapsed,” Garry said.

The Simberi gold mine is run by St. Barbara Ltd.


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