Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said on Thursday that a joint venture of Barrick Gold and China's Zijin Mining was set to remain operator of the Porgera gold mine following talks in Port Moresby.
In April, Marape had refused to extend the expired mining lease of operator Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL), citing environmental and social problems.
That saw BNL mount legal challenges and close down the mine in a year spot gold prices have hit all-time highs.
“We have agreed in principle that Papua New Guinea will take a major share of equity under the new arrangements and BNL will retain operatorship and there will be a fair sharing of the economic benefits,” Marape said in a joint statement issued after talks with Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow on reopening the mine.
Barrick and Zijin currently each hold 47.5% in the Porgera project, with the remaining 5% held by Mineral Resources Enga, itself a joint venture between Enga province and local landowners.
It was not immediately clear roughly how big Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) equity stake would be.
Marape and Bristow “have agreed to meet again in the coming weeks once negotiations conclude”, the statement said.
“I am certain that my team will be able to work with the PNG state negotiation team ... in finalising full commercial details,” it quoted Bristow as saying.