Barrick CEO Meets With Landowners
To discuss the reopening of the Porgera Mine, the Porgera Landowners Association (PLOA) Negotiating Committee met with Barrick Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow and Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs of Asia Pacific, Woo Lee in Port Moresby.
While the Barrick team has been in Port Moresby for a month already, the PLOA Negotiating Committee is on the ground to discuss with Special Mining Lease (SML) clan leaders and their alternates, the significance of having direct control over royalties and benefits generated by the mine in the last 20 years.
According to Landowner chairman Maso Mangape, mechanisms such as the Minerals Resources Development Corporation ( MRDC) and its subsidiaries, including Mineral Resources Enga (MRE) have long failed the resource landowners of PNG.
"These organizations have been mismanaged by a few and benefits intended for landowners, including the people of Porgera have failed to trickle down to the people,” he said. "In the interest of transparency and a more direct flow of benefits to households, we are proposing a different model, with a professionally managed entity established to transparently manage our benefits and royalties. Our people want the immediate and transparent flow of dividends into their bank accounts, not trapped by intermediaries and third parties. So far billions of Kina in gold sales revenue has been received by MRE and only a fraction has reached our people at the household level with no reports and transparency provided to landowners.”
Mangape added, “We now have the opportunity to make things right for our people over the next twenty years, and these signatures show that 7200 SML landowners want a change so that benefits flow directly to households. There is overwhelming support amongst genuine SML landowners for our proposal for a new vehicle. We have come to Port Moresby to meet with Mr Bristow, but many more are still gathering back in Porgera to put their support behind our proposal.”
Earlier this year, the negotiating committee coordinated with Barrick for landowner deals, a partnership based on certainty and trust.
Mangape and Deputy chairman Dickson Pundi gave Mr Bristow a copy of the individually signed mandate of over 7200 Special Mining Lease ( SML) Landowners, which will be presented to the provincial government and the state.
"Every mine operator requires a social license to operate. Over seventy per cent of SML landowners have already put their names to paper to resoundingly say they want a different deal,” he said. "Many more are gathering to sign in Porgera because they want a better deal that benefits them directly, cutting out the proverbial “middle-men”.