By: PNG Business News February 26, 2024

Prime Minister Hon James Marape, recently witnessed the first gold pour of the New Porgera Mine, since the expiry of the then Special Mining Lease (SML1) in 2019.

The event signifies that it will be 'all systems go' come July when full operations are expected to commence.

The PM was on-site accompanied by the Governor for Enga Province Hon Sir Peter Ipatas, Mining Minister Hon Muguwa Dilu, Member for Laiagap Hon Amos Akem, Country Manager for Barrick Niugini Limited Karo Lelai, Managing Director of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) Jerry Garry, and Managing Director of Kumul Minerals Holdings Limited (KMHL) Sarimu Kanu.

PM Marape said this was an historical event that marked the beginning of a brighter future for the country, especially landowners and stakeholders. He said when his government got into office in 2019, it embarked on a mission under the banner 'Take Back PNG' to ensure that the country must get a fair-share of benefits from all its natural resources including benefits from mineral resources. However, he said his government was also mindful and respectful of the fact that investors’ must also make their return on investments so that it is a win-win for all parties.

MRA MD Mr Garry said he was happy that the project had come this far. He said it had been a huge challenge for the MRA, in terms of ensuring that the application for SML13 by New Porgera Limited ( NPL) in 2023, met all regulatory requirements and were compliant with laws.

He said another challenge had been to effectively manage landowners' and stakeholders' expectations.

“As far as the MRA is concerned, all regulatory requirements under the Mining Act 1992, have been fully satisfied,” said Mr Garry.

He said the regulatory process begun from the time, the operator New Porgera Mine Limited (NPL) applied for the SML13, followed by the conducting of Wardens Hearing, the technical assessments, the Mining Advisory Council (MAC) deliberations and recommendations for grant to the Mining Minister.

The MD said the Community Development Agreement (CDA) process had almost been completed, and that stakeholders were now preparing to go into CDA negotiations proper.

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