Barrick to 'urgently appeal' Porgera decision

PORGERA gold mine operator Barrick Niugini (BNL) plans to “urgently appeal” a lower court ruling in Papua New Guinea, which dismissed its application for a judicial review of the government’s refusal to extend its special mining lease.
Barrick to 'urgently appeal' Porgera decision Barrick to 'urgently appeal' Porgera decision Barrick to 'urgently appeal' Porgera decision Barrick to 'urgently appeal' Porgera decision Barrick to 'urgently appeal' Porgera decision

The Porgera gold mine in PNG was put on care and maintenance in April over the lease dispute

Staff reporter

"The company disagrees with numerous grounds outlined in the ruling dismissing the application for judicial review handed down by Deputy Chief Justice Kandakasi in the National Court today, and intends to urgently appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court," Barrick Niugini said yesterday.

The company had suspended the mine in April after the government refused its 2017 application to extend Porgera's SML by 20 years, which Barrick regarded as "tantamount to nationalisation without due process".

PNG prime minister James Marape confirmed on the weekend the Porgera SML had been awarded to state-owned Kumul Minerals Holdings and said it was up to Barrick to discuss how it could remain at Porgera under KMHL's lease.

BNL believed the move was "unlawful and invalid" and said it intended to take steps to legally challenge the grant of the SML to Kumul.

It has also separately lodged a conciliation request with the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. 

Both sides have indicated a willingness to talk.

Marape said on Sunday PNG was "not a banana republic or dictatorship" and the option of equity plus operatorship was on the table, subject to negotiations.

He also wanted the mine opened "at the earliest".

"BNL remains ready to enter into good faith negotiations to chart a way forward that can result in a win-win for all stakeholders and lead to the re-opening of the Porgera mine," the company said yesterday.

The Porgera joint venture is currently owned 47.5% by both Barrick Gold and Zijin Mining, and 5% by Mineral Resources Enga which is owned equally by the provincial government and Porgera landowners.

Porgera had produced 284,000 ounces of gold for Barrick in 2019 but the major withdrew guidance for the operation earlier this year due to the ongoing uncertainty.