K92 Memorandum of Agreement Review Set For Second Quarter
The review of the memorandum of agreement for Kainantu Mine will be concluded in the second quarter of 2020.
The Mineral Resources Authority confirmed this in response to concerns raised by landowners along with Eastern Highlands Governor Peter Numu and Minister for Mining Johnson Tuke for a swift review.
MRA managing director Jerry Garry said MRA had started the review of the Kainantu memorandum of agreement (MoA) in 2018, but was shelved due to several challenges.
He said the MoA was first executed in 2003 under the original tenement holder, Highlands Pacific Limited, the State, Eastern Highlands provincial government, Kainantu LLG, Billimoian Landowners Association and associated landowners.
The first official review process started in 2018 after a long period of discontinuation of mining activities and attended by all parties to the MoA.
According to the MRA records, most matters relating to benefit sharing mechanisms were discussed and agreed to by all parties.
The few outstanding matters relating to identifying and categorising the beneficiaries were to be finalised during the final review, which was supposed to be held last in 2019
Mr Garry said, however, due to lack of funding under the public investment program (PIP) in 2019, the final meetings were planned to be concluded in the first quarter of 2020.
Again, this proposed review planning was well underway when there was leadership tussle between two project landowner factions, which took much of MRA, and the State’s time to mitigate a solution for the two groups,” he added.
Another setback to start the review process this year was the state-of-emergency and Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, forcing more delays.
Mr Garry said with the landowner leadership issue been resolved MRA is confident the process can be concluded hopefully in quarter two 2020, as soon as the travel restrictions are lifted.
“We are very committed to progress and conclude the revised MoA for execution later this month or early June while we have very strong support of Mining Minister, Kainantu District Authority, K92 mine and the EHP government.”
He said K92 mine is a relatively small mine, much smaller than Simberi and Hidden Valley.
“The annual gold production is about 42,000 ounces. However, the managers of the K92 mine have applied smart exploration, mining and development strategies and are investing money on growing the mine into producing 100,000 ounces per year within the next few years,” he said.