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Barrick meets new PNG leader about Porgera mine lease extension

The Porgera mine is located in the Enga Province of Papua New Guinea. (Image courtesy of Porgera Joint Venture.)

Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) (NYSE:GOLD) president and CEO Mark Bristow, along with the executive director of JV partner Zijin Mining Group, today met with Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister James Marapa about extending the current special mining lease on the Porgera gold mine, which is set to expire on August 16, 2019. This marks the second time that Bristow has visited the country this year to reaffirm its commitment to the Porgera JV.

Bristow also met with the governor of Enga province, the Porgera landowners and other stakeholders to discuss the proposed lease extension.

The Porgera mine, located 130km west of Mt. Hagen and 600km northwest of Port Moresby, first poured gold in 1990, producing over 20Moz of gold over the life of mine. It contributes to about 10% of the nation’s exports and employs over 3,300 Papua New Guineans.

Barrick and Zijin each owns 47.5% of the mine, while the landowners and the Enga provincial government hold the remaining 5% interest.

“The proposed extension to its lease will allow the mine to remain productive for at least another 20 years,” says Bristow. “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.”

Shares of Barrick advanced over 5% on Monday morning as the gold market kept its momentum from last week, hitting a 10-week high earlier today. The company’s market capitalization now sits at approximately $21.8 billion.