Porgera Gold Mine Will be re-opened, says PNG PM Marape
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has expressed his disappointment over misinformation circulated by people with commercial and political motives over the Government’s decision not to grant the Extension to the Special Mining Lease, SML to Barrick Nuigini Limited, (BNL).
SML for Porgera Mine granted to BNL expired in 2019, and their request for further 20 years was refused by the Government on the recommendation from the regulatory body, the Mining Advisory Committee, (MAC).
Expiry of the SML and refusal of the extension of the SML to Barrick is by the operation of the Laws of this country and in the national interest.
Prime Minister Marape said the information that Government nationalized or expropriated the Mine from BNL is utterly misleading and flagrant lies.
“There is no such things, and for people to suggest such has no respect for the Laws of this country and I dare challenge those spreading these lies, to produce the evidence or the facts,” the Prime Minister said.
“Mining assets and properties are still intact and belong to BNL. They will decide what they want to do with them. If they want to sell these assets, the Government is willing to buy these assets.
“What the Government refused is further lease of the land. As per the Law, when a Special Mining Leases expires, the land or SML reverts back to the owner, which is the State.
“Let me explain in this manner. If you are a property owner and you lease your property to another person. After expiry of the lease or contract, you have the right to decide whether to extend the lease or not”.
“So that is what the Government has done – refusal of the extension is within its right under the Laws of this country.”
Prime Minister Marape said the Government wants to re-open the Mine.
However, he said this has been made difficult by the Court actions taken by BNL, challenging the decision of the Government.
“The matter is before the National Court and we will await the ruling or decision of the Court before we take appropriate steps to re-open the Mine.
“Whilst the matter is in the court, the State has offered to BNL equity and possible operatorship, and to discuss this “without prejudice biases”. But BNL has refused unless the SML is granted to them.
“I want to assure the people, particularly people from Enga and Porgera that Government will do everything within the laws of our country to re-open the Mine.
“This time, the country and Landowners will receive greater share of the benefits of the Mine, as opposed to only 5% equity currently owned by Enga Provincial Government and Landowners.
“According to our experts, the mine has a life of 20 years, with high grade gold reserve of 11.6 million ounces.
“If the Mine produces 500,000 ounces of Gold a year at a gold price of $US2,000 per ounces, the annual cash flow will be $US1.0 Billion. After taking out operating costs of $US360 million, and net earnings is $US640 million.”
“The $US640 million will be shared between all the stakeholders and if 100% ownership by us, this money will be easily injected into the economy.
“Just think about the positive impact of this money on our economy. Some of the immediate impacts are:
More money to the Enga Provincial Government and Landowners,
Improve the quality of lives of our people, with quality social services,
More revenue to the Government to finance its national budget
Reduce reliance on loan to finance the budget – reduce debt
Strengthened our kina currency against our major trading currencies such US dollar
More jobs, and increases income opportunities for our people
Strengthened our foreign reserves, hence provide a cushion against inflationary pressure, which will, in turn, make basic goods more affordable for our people.
The Prime Minister said the country must seize on every opportunity within the Laws of our country to obtain a fair and equitable share of the benefits realised from every development of our natural resources.
He said that is what our Government wants, nothing less and if that is the wrong thing to do, he stands to be corrected and forgiven.