Barrick (Niugini) has been engulfed in a legal tussle with the PNG government over the Porgera Gold Mine after the latter refused to renew the 20-year SML in April 2020
Barrick (Niugini) or BNL in short, which is the operator of the Porgera Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG), said that it will challenge the federal government’s purported grant of the Porgera Special Mining Lease (SML) to Kumul Minerals.
The company, which is a joint venture between Barrick Gold and China-based Zijin Mining Group, said that is aware of the steps taken by the PNG government towards granting the lease to the state-owned enterprise.
According to Barrick (Niugini), the PNG Register of Mining Tenements shows that the country’s Prime Minister James Marape purportedly granted SML No. 11 (SML 11) to Kumul Minerals recently for a period of 20 years.
SML 11 is claimed to span 2,135 hectares of land at Porgera.
Barrick (Niugini) alleged that the PNG government did not undertake any consultations with the Porgera landowners before awarding the SML either by means of a development forum or other consultative steps. It also claimed that a warden’s hearing was also not held in this connection.
Barrick (Niugini) stated: “We are unaware of any representative of Kumul Minerals who has visited Porgera to meet with landowners and other community stakeholders to discuss the SML.
“In purportedly granting an SML in this non-transparent and rushed manner, the Marape Government sets a precedent of the State disenfranchising landowners and making decisions with fundamental consequences for their futures and those of their children without doing them the justice of listening to their views.”
Barrick Gold and Zijin Mining Group each hold a stake of 47.5% in the Porgera Gold Mine, which began production in 1990. The remaining 5% stake in the gold mine is held by Mineral Resources Enga, which in turn is equally owned by Porgera SML landowners and the Enga provincial government.
Production at the troubled Porgera Gold Mine has been on hold
Barrick (Niugini) has been engulfed in a legal tussle with the PNG government over the Porgera Gold Mine after the latter refused to renew the 20-year SML in April 2020 citing social and environmental pollution concerns.
Following the turn of events, Barrick (Niugini) stopped production at the gold mine and placed it on temporary care and maintenance.