Barrick Gold Corporation - President and CEO, Mark Bristow
President and CEO, Mark Bristow
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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  • Barrick Gold (TSX:BNL) has accused Papua New Guinea of stealing their Porgera Mine
  • The New Guinea highlands mine has not had it’s Specula Mining License renewed
  • The Papua New Guinea government has said it will own and operate the mine itself
  • Barrick intends to fight the decision with every legal means at it’s disposal
  • Barrick Gold (TSX:BNL) is trading up 2 per cent with a per share price of $38.77 per share with a market cap of $68 billion

Barrick Gold’s (TSX:BNL) Papua New Guinea subsidiary, Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL), has accused the country of nationalising its Porgera mine.

Barrick’s CEO and President, Mark Bristow, met with the Papuan Prime Minister Marape four times to, as the company describes it, “discuss the extension issue and to re-affirm BNL’s commitment to a long-term partnership with PNG.”

Barrick had their Special Mining License at the Porgera Mine revoked today.

For their part, the Papua New Guinea Government said the decision was made on environmental and social grounds.

Prime Minister Marape said “in the best interests of the state, especially in lieu of the environmental damages, claims and resettlement issues, the Special Mining Lease will not be renewed.”

Barrick has described the decision as “tantamount to nationalisation” and said this would be “a catastrophic situation for the communities at Porgera and in Enga, and for the country as a whole.”

The Papuan Government has said they will operate the mine themselves, once the initial transition phase is out of the way. Barrick has emphatically stated that it will enter into no negotiations for transitional arrangements at the mine and will be investigating all legal options to contest the decision.

The company has stated it has a right to its renewal, and had this right confirmed by the PNG national court in August of 2019.

Porgera is a joint venture where Barrick owns 47.5 per cent, Chinese miner Zijin Mining owns another 47.5 per cent and a landowner group, Mineral Resources Enga, holds the final 5 per cent.

This move was forecast in 2019, when Prime Minister Marape won government and said the country had not reaped adequate rewards from its mineral wealth.

Stunningly, Porgera accounts for roughly 10 per cent of PNG’s national exports.

The decision has cast serious doubt on a host of other mining projects, including Newcrest Mining’s Wafi Golpu Gold and Copper Asset.

Barrick Gold (BNL) is up 2 per cent to C$38.77 per share at 11:14am EST.

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