Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has hailed the signing of four agreements on Friday, October 13, 2023, as a “giant leap” towards the reopening of the Porgera gold mine in Enga. The agreements signed between the State and New Porgera Ltd include the Mining Development Contract, Special Mining Lease 13, Fiscal Stability Agreement, and Escrow Arrangement for Landowners.
The mine is expected to commence operations before the end of the year, with full production anticipated within six months, contingent upon the finalisation of compensation agreements for landowners.
Operated by New Porgera Ltd, a company with a 51 percent ownership by Papua New Guinea stakeholders and 49 percent by Barrick, the momentous signing event took place at Government House, witnessed by Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae, Prime Minister Marape, Barrick Gold Corporation President and CEO Mark Bristow, company representatives, Enga Governor Hon. Sir Peter Ipatas, Ministers and MPs, Porgera landowner representatives, members of the State Negotiating Team, and others.
Prime Minister Marape expressed his gratitude to Mr. Bristow and the Barrick team for their care and stewardship of the mine since its closure in April 2020. In his words, “I want to say today, October 13, 2023, is a day in which we have taken a giant leap from April 24, 2020. Today’s signing of four key instruments is a big step towards reopening Porgera.”
Prime Minister Marape emphasised the significance of the partnership, stating, “This is the first time that a Papua New Guinea company has merged in a joint venture with a global supermajor like Barrick. This incorporated joint venture is structured in a way where accountability of all parties is on the table. I want to assure everyone that this has been done transparently.”
Regarding crucial issues such as the resettlement of Porgera landowners, Prime Minister Marape expressed his gratitude, saying, “We thank everyone for their patience and support. We believe that what has been secured under SML 13 is in the best interests of everyone, and we look forward to the next 20 years. It is my view, and the Enga Governor’s view, that this arrangement will lift the living standards of Porgera Valley landowners, Enga Province landowners, and Papua New Guineans.”
Mr. Bristow, President and CEO of Barrick Gold Corporation, described the day as “special,” with the signing of SML 13 occurring on Friday the 13th. He stated, “It’s a milestone. We have an exciting voyage ahead of us. The important thing, as the Prime Minister said, is that it’s a real partnership. We’ve worked hard to get here, and it’s important now to finish the last step, and that is the compensation arrangements for all the landowners. We want to get that out of the way as quickly as possible. We believe that we can do that with the help of everyone.”
This historic agreement marks a significant step forward in the reopening of the Porgera gold mine, ushering in new opportunities and prosperity for the region.