Barrick committed to back community in PNG

AS the expiration date of Aug 16 of the special mining lease (SML) for the Porgera gold mine in Enga approaches, operator Barrick Niugini Ltd continues to be committed to the local community.
Barrick Gold Corporation president and chief executive officer Mark Bristow, during his visit to the country last week, provided an update of the company’s contribution to the surrounding communities in Porgera and the country.

Barrick Niugini Ltd is a joint venture between Barrick Gold Corporation and Zijin Mining Group of China.
Officials from Barrick and Zijin accompanied Bristow and Zijin’s executive director and senior vice-president George Fang to Porgera over the weekend, where they had discussions with government and local stakeholders.
“I am confident that we shall be able to reach a broad agreement on the terms of the lease extension and that we shall develop the kind of partnership that will ensure that Porgera continues to benefit the country and community for many years to come,” Bristow said.
Barrick’s investment is in the priority areas of health, education, portable water and employment among others in the community  He said Porgera Joint Venture would visit the hospital which they had made a commitment to during his last visit to keep operational.
“We made a commitment when we met with Prime Minister James Marape last time. We would invest in that hospital and keep it operational,” he said.
“And we have done so. We have more items that we imported to ensure that the hospital is fully operational with special focus on the women of Porgera.
“They said it was something that was important to the community irrespective of the negotiations on the SML.
“It’s something which supports the community.”
Bristow said children, women and daughters had the future in their hands in this emerging market.
“And so one of the most important things to invest in the community endeavours is around primary health,” he said.
He said they had also invested in primary education.
“We have done a lot of that and also through the Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas.
“Access to portable water, which despite the fact that it is an area that gets a lot of rain, when it does not rain for a while there is a lot of stress for access to portable water,” Bristow said.
“And we have put in many portable water systems in the community to be accessed.”
He said they currently had a project where they were looking for ways to increase investment.
Bristow also spoke about the employment opportunities that the mine created.
“When you look back at Porgera, it has made a significant contribution to that region because we all know what that region was like 20 years ago.
“If you compare it with other regions of PNG that are remote, it’s a different place today.
“We employ 3,000 people in Porgera and 1,000 of those people are from the Porgera region,” Bristow said.  The National/ PMW

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