Gold mining major Barrick CEO Mark Bristow on Monday met with the new leader of Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister James Marape, over the extension of the Porgera joint venture’s (JV’s) special mining lease (SML), which expires in two months’ time.
Barrick said in a statement that Bristow and Zijin Mining executive director and senior VP George Fang had reaffirmed their commitment to working with Papua New Guinea to ensure that the Porgera mine continued to operate past August.
“To sustain mine operations, however, it will require a significant capital injection, and it is difficult to justify that kind of investment without the security of an extended mine lease,” Bristow said, noting that the JV had applied for a 20 year extension of the SML.
Barrick pointed out that, since pouring its first gold in 1990, Porgera had paid more than $1.1-billion in taxes $297-million in equity cash payments and $178-million in royalties to the provincial government and customary landowners.
While in the country, Bristow also met with Enga governor Peter Ipatas, Porgera landowners and other stakeholders.
“We are engaging with the government to breathe new life into our long-standing partnership, so that Porgera continues to deliver value to all its stakeholders. In our meeting with the Porgera landowners, we invited our stakeholders to join us in continuing to improve the quality of life, security and welfare in the Porgera valley,” he said.
Barrick and Zijin each own 47.5% of Porgera, with the remaining 5% interest being held by Mineral Resources Enga, owned equally by Porgera SML landowners and the Enga provincial government.
Barrick operates the mine, which in 2018 produced 204 000 oz at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $1 083/oz. This year, the mine is forecast to produce 240 000 oz to 260 000 oz at an AISC of $985/oz to $1 025/oz.
Porgera has measured and indicated resources of 1.8-million ounces and an inferred gold resource of 1.5-million ounces.