Barrick Niugini (BNL), which operates the Porgera joint venture mine in Papua New Guinea, has dismissed statements by the country’s Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey about the company’s tax payments.
“BNL disagrees with the premise of the calculations used by the Treasurer in making his assertions regarding ‘missing’ financial benefits for Papua New Guinea through the operation of the Porgera mine, and particularly with respect to company tax payments,” the company said in a statement on November 29.
BNL stated that it administered its financial affairs, including the calculation of its tax obligations, in accordance with the laws of Papua New Guinea.
Further, the company rejected any suggestion that 2019 tax payments had been manipulated to coincide with the timing of processes relating to BNL’s application to extend the Porgera special mining lease (SML).
The SML of Porgera, which BNL operates on behalf of Barrick and JV partner Zijin Mining, lapsed when Prime Minister James Marape refused to extend it in April. Barrick CEO Mark Bristow and Marape in October agreed that BNL would be allowed to remain as operator, although a fuller resolution of the dispute had not been reached yet.
BNL pointed to a statement by the Treasurer in March, when the company’s advance payment of taxes was welcomed as a way of helping the government’s fiscal situation.
BNL noted that it had lodged its application to extend the Porgera SML in June 2017 – two years before the end of the 2019 tax year.