World will not end if mine closes, says PM

The world will not end if the Porgera mine closes, says Prime Minister James Marape.

Posting on his Facebook wall, Marape asked all Papua New Guineans to bear with him as the government works through the transitional period of the Enga Province mine.

“Short term pain for long term gain; don’t be crybabies and pessimists,” the PM said.

“Barrick’s lease expired on 18th August 2019. My letter to Barrick is on its way and will explain this and also allude to formal and legitimate processes of government, including Mining Advisory Council’s deliberation that refused application for lease renewal.

“I have my country’s 8 million shareholders, including the people of Ipili, Porgera, Enga, environmental footprint areas plus present mine workers to look after.

“Now that your lease has expired, the legal process is there for Barrick to comply so you can maintain your operation until an agreed exit time we both secure at negotiations when mutual obligations are retired.

“My letter will ask Barrick to continue operating the mine when we go through this phase, but if you sabotage or close the mine, you leave me no choice but to invoke orders to take over the mine for the sake of landowners and provincial government who should be getting bigger equities, plus the employees and contractors who are presently working with the mine.

“Don’t fight me (I am in my country and I lose nothing), work with me for your ease of business during this transition and exit phase (you never know, negotiations may buy you extra mine operation time).

“To all PNG miners (those in both operations and explorations) we will not change goal posts in between.

“PNG is a robust democracy that honours all agreements to the text and spirit, congruent to our mining act or other laws and constitution of our country for that matter.

“Major amendments to the resource law regimes we’re doing will be effected post 2025 and will not affect those agreements secured under present regimes. You can have that comfort.”

The Prime Minister further challenged Papua New Guineans to live in the real world.

“Don’t just dream and write concept papers and paper proposals on FB and all over the virtual world. Live in the real world, this is 2020, not 1975, no one else will work for you or us PNG, we have to do it ourselves.

“Go back, till your land in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, that’s where our ancestors lived and ruled and our future continues to remain in.

“PNG and the world need organic healthy food, need coffee, copra, cocoa, vanilla, livestock, fish etc. We have food we can produce to feed ourselves and supply the world.

“If you can’t go back home and mobilise your land for agriculture and other business, yet waiting for free handouts then don’t bother commenting on Porgera, that is my job to do.

“Giving back to my cousins in Enga what is their just due as well as getting more for the country.”

Press release