Barrick’s CEO visits Papua New Guinea to support extension of Porgera mining lease

The new President and CEO of Barrick Gold (NYSE:GOLD)(TSX:ABX), Mark Bristow, said the company wants to strengthen its partnership with the government and local communities of Papua New Guinea where the Porgera gold deposit is located.

Barrick and Zijin Mining Group each own a 47.5% interest in the Porgera Joint Venture, while Mineral Resources Enga owns the remaining 5% interest. At present, the firms involved in the project are negotiating an extension of the Special Mining Lease that will allow the mine to remain productive.

In a press release, Barrick quotes Bristow as saying that Porgera is a long-term asset for both Barrick and Zijin that will require significant capital investment to sustain operations. “Without the security of an extended mining lease, it would be difficult to justify further significant investments in the mine,” the statement reads.

Porgera operation in Papua New Guinea. Photo by Barrick Gold.

Porgera, located in the northern Enga province of Papua New Guinea, hosts an open pit and underground gold mine that produced 204,000 ounces in 2018 and whose 2019 guidance is somewhere between 240,000 and 260,000 ounces of the yellow metal.

Bristow’s visit to the area was his first as head of the world's top gold producer by volume. During his four-day tour, the executive met with Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel, representatives of the Porgera Landowners Association, Enga’s Provincial Governor Sir Peter Ipatas, and other government officials.

“At Barrick, we believe that our host countries must be true partners, sharing both the responsibility and the benefits that come with mining,” Bristow said in the media brief, where he added that the company is ready to engage with the Papua New Guinean government “to breathe new life” into Porgera.