Wafi-Golpu delays exploration
Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture is delaying its advanced exploration activities over uncertainty in attaining a mining permit.
As the exploration activities are being delayed, the number of employees is also being reduced in a redundancy exercise.
This comes amid the current legal challenge over the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between WGJV and the State.
As per the project permitting timeline WGJV expected to get a Special Mining Lease (SML) in June as planned and agreed to by WGJV and the State.
“Due to the failure to achieve the targeted milestones for permitting the project, and uncertainty related to the project permitting timeline, WGJV has delayed its planned advanced exploration activities until after the grant of the SML, when these activities were originally scheduled.
“Currently, there are 57 WGJV employees that have been identified for reduction in July, August and September 2019,” WGJV said.
WGJV said normal activities at the site, including general operation of the site, community programs, environmental monitoring and engineering activity are continuing.
WGJV was responding to questions regarding the progress of the project and the court injunction over the signing of the MoU.
“As the matter is before the courts, we note the national government has lodged an appeal against the stay order.
While waiting for the case to be heard, the WGJV is complying with the stay order and will not undertake activities or work (including meetings with government agencies and other stakeholders) which will alter the status quo in relation to the MoU,” WGJV said.
WGJV emphasised that the MoU is between the WGJV and the State.
The company said under PNG law, all matters relating to Morobe Province and the landowners are dealt with via separate negotiation and consultation process, including the Development Forum and memorandum of agreement process.
It said the MoU does not replace that process or any of the usual agreements that will need to be negotiated before any SML is granted. These include:
– The Mining Development Contract (which outlines the fiscal and regulatory arrangements for the project);
– The MoA (which is an outcome of the Development Forum and deals with the distribution of benefits from the project);
– State Equity Acquisition Agreement (which is the purchase agreement for the equity to be acquired under the State’s option); and
– Fiscal Stability Agreement (which is an agreement providing long term fiscal stability for the project).