Govt doing everything to reopen Porgera mine: Marape
Prime Minister James Marape has assured the country that the Government is doing everything within its mandate to reopen the Porgera gold mine.
He was responding to a statement from his predecessor Peter O’Neill on Wednesday accusing him of dragging his feet on resolving the closure of the mine with the operator Barrick Niugini Ltd.
Marape said he was not going to follow the footsteps of O’Neill “who does not respect legitimate government processes and concedes to foreign interests, like his giveaway of 10 per cent in State equity for the Wafi-Golpu project” by a memorandum of agreement.
“I choose to differ. Every opportunity to gain for the country, our provinces and landowners, we must gain,” Marape said.
Marape said the Government remained clear and resolute on what to do on Porgera.
“It’s not nationalisation or expropriation as some may think or promote.
“Companies and mining leaseholders in Porgera had unbroken and profitable years since 1989 when the lease was issued,” Marape said.
“The lease expired on August 16, 2019, and the Government is duty bound to honour our Constitution’s desire to harvest resources at better terms for our country, including our landowners.”
He said Barrick’s decision to take the matter to court had delayed the re-opening of the mine.
“Government has indicated to Barrick Ltd that they will be given first consideration for partnership, but under new terms,” he said.
“But first, the resource will be defined as belonging to the people – landowners, the provincial government and the country.
“If they (Barrick) withdraw the court cases, we can talk commercial with them. We are not idiots running this government. We can read numbers and laws.
“The time when industries had lopsided wins is over. It’s now a You win – PNG win equity-based principle.”