PNG Government and Barrick Gold : From Friends to Enemies and Then Friends again

After the mine’s existing 30-year permit expired in August of 2019, the PNG government stuck with its decision not to grant Barrick a permit renewal, citing environmental impacts and other legacy issues

This led to a full-blown war of words between Barrick and Prime Minister of PNG, James Marape, and subsequent legal action.

Barrick has been a leading partner in the Porgera Joint Venture mine for 14 years, during which severe environmental impacts, including riverine tailings disposal, have continued to characterize the operations, and the social “legacy issues,” including brutal human rights abuses committed by the mine's private and public security forces, have deeply angered the local indigenous landowners.

Even after Barrick initiated legal action in PNG, as well as starting international arbitration in July of 2020, the PNG government maintained its fundamental right to determine whether or not Barrick should be granted extended access to the lucrative ore body.

Despite legal threats by Barrick Gold Corp., Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea (PNG) released a statement on April 5, announcing that his government will be making a deal with the company in regard to the Porgera Joint Venture gold mine.

Barrick Gold and the PNG Govt struck a new deal over Porgera in April 2021.

The deal is said to cede majority ownership of the mine to ‘PNG stakeholders’ while securing Barrick’s status as the mine’s operator.

Under the agreement, ownership of the mine was to be transferred to a new joint venture’, with PNG owning 51 percent interest and Barrick owning 49 percent.

The main man behind the tussle with the PNG government, Barrick Gold CEO and President Mark Bristow, and senior executives are in the country as part of Barrick’s quarterly review visits to Barrick-operated mine sites through the world.

The four-day visit starting today (12th October) will see Dr. Bristow expected to visit Prime Minister James Marape and senior government officials.

 While Pogera Mine is presently under care and maintenance, negotiations for the re-commencement of the mining continue. In line with the terms of the Framework Agreement signed between Barrick and the State in April this year.

Dr. Bristow has stated that he hopes that the visit will assist in progressing negotiations past certain critical milestones and that all key agreements required prior to the re-commencement of the mining will be signed soon.

Dr. Bristow said that all parties need to be conscious of the passage of time and should work together to finalize negotiations as soon as possible to ensure an expedient mine restart. This would ensure that Porgera Mine could start contributing to the economic recovery impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Statement/ Exepreneur Magazine / PC: Barrick Gold Corporation

Next : PM Marape Reassures PNG of a better Deal from P'NYANG Gas Project

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