Landowners meet Barrick CEO

The Porgera Landowners Association (PLOA) Negotiating Committee met in Port Moresby today with Barrick Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow and Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs Asia Pacific, Woo Lee.

A high-level Barrick team have been in Port Moresby for a month now negotiating with the State terms for reopening Porgera Mine.

The PLOA Negotiating Committee have been on the ground in Porgera to discuss with Special Mining Lease (SML) clan leaders and their alternates, as well as the wider SML landowner community the importance of landowners having direct control over benefits and royalties generated by the mine over the next twenty years.

Landowner chairman, Maso Mangape claimed that it is their view that elite capture mechanisms such as the Minerals Resources Development Corporation ( MRDC) and its subsidiaries, including Mineral Resources Enga (MRE) have long failed the resource landowners of Papua New Guinea.

"These organizations have been mismanaged by a few and benefits intended for landowners, including the people of Porgera have failed to trickle down to the people.

"In the interest of transparency and a more direct flow of benefits to households, we are proposing a different model, with a professionally managed entity established to transparently manage our benefits and royalties.

"Our people want immediate and transparent flow of dividends into their bank accounts, not trapped by intermediaries and third parties. So far billions of Kina in gold sales revenue has been received by MRE and only a fraction has reached our people at the household level with no reports and transparency provided to landowners.

Mangape said “We now have the opportunity to make things right for our people over the next twenty years, and these signatures show that 7200 SML landowners want a change so that benefits flow directly to households. There is overwhelming support amongst genuine SML landowners for our proposal for a new vehicle. We have come to Port Moresby to meet with Mr Bristow, but many more are still gathering back in Porgera to put their support behind our proposal.”

The PLOA Negotiating Committee worked with Barrick to secure a landmark deal for landowners earlier this year.

This strategic partnership is built on a relationship of trust and certainty.

Mangape and Deputy chairman Dickson Pundi presented Mr Bristow with a copy of the individually signed mandate of over 7200 Special Mining Lease ( SML) Landowners.

Copies will also be presented to both the Enga Provincial Government and the State.

"Every mine operator requires social license to operate. Over seventy percent of SML landowners have already put their names to paper to resoundingly say they want a different deal.

"Many more are gathering to sign in Porgera because they want a better deal that benefits them directly, cutting out the proverbial “middle-men”.