Barrick Gold has received clearance to revive its Pogera gold mine in Papua New Guinea, which had been closed for three years due to a dispute with the country’s government over benefit-sharing.
Pogera, located in the central province of Enga, was placed in care and maintenance in April 2020, coinciding with the onset of the pandemic, as Barrick and the PNG government failed to agree on terms for renewing the mining license.
Last Friday, Barrick announced the mine’s restart after the PNG Governor-General granted New Porgera Ltd. (NPL) a special mining lease, paving the way for the 700,000-oz.-per-year operation to resume production.
In the joint venture, Barrick holds a 49% stake in NPL and operates the mine, while PNG stakeholders own the remaining 51%.
Barrick stated in Friday’s announcement that NPL would engage with the mine’s landowners in the coming week to settle compensation agreements, which can be unpredictable at times.
Barrick CEO Mark Bristow commented on Friday, stating that “subject to agreement on compensation, the mine is positioned to restart before the end of this year. Recruitment efforts are being accelerated to employ the full workforce required when the mine resumes operations as soon as compensation agreements are in place.”
Pogera boasts an orebody with measured and indicated resources of 10 million oz. and inferred resources of 3.4 million ounces of gold. It produced approximately 600,000 oz. of gold in 2019 before mining ceased in early 2020.
The issuance of the lease follows the signing of a mining development contract and the conclusion of a fiscal stability agreement between the PNG government and the Porgera joint venture.