OPERATOR of the Porgera Gold Mine, Barrick (Niugini) Limited (BNL), will be asking Papua New Guinea government authorities to re-establish the Emergency Highlands Highway Tax Credit Scheme (TCS). This is so that additional funding can be accessed for emergency repairs only on the highway. BNL’s general manager Operations, Damian Shaw, said this when delivering a presentation on the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) and the Porgera operation at the 14th Papua New Guinea (PNG) Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference in Sydney, Australia in December 2016. PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum hosted the conference themed, ‘Delivering on Growth Opportunities’ from December 5 to 7 at the Sydney Hilton Hotel. The conference was in conjunction with three seminars on PNG Resources Industry Financing, PNG Petroleum Exploration Update, and the PNG Mineral Exploration Update.
Mr Shaw told the conference that the Highlands Highway was an issue for the whole country in 2016. “It’s our key piece of infrastructure that enables us to bring supply of goods into the Enga Province. “There is not enough money in the country to manage any of those slips, so it relies on us being able to negotiate with the landowners, with the assistance of the government, to go and fix those issues as they arise,” he said. “We’ve lost several parts of the mine for periods of weeks on two occasions this year as a result of closures on the highway.
“We are presenting to the government to reactivate the emergency TCS that used to be in effect for the highway, because those in country will know, we had a drought year last year, and we are now on track for record rainfall so the highway is falling apart.” Apart from TCS, Mr Shaw also spoke on production and economic benefits and highlighted recent achievements which included concentrate export and the Job Ready Project (JRP). The Highlands Highway remained an operational challenge, law and order also remained a challenge for PJV.