Open Bid To All Parties

Leader of the Opposition Belden Namah is calling on the Government to open the bid to all parties and choose the best to collaborate with in reopening the Porgera Mine.

He claims that the Government has overlooked some bidders who had very attractive offers for Porgera.

Mr Namah said the Opposition is aware of at least one bidder for the Porgera Mine deal, which he says is more attractive offer than that of Barrick.

He said the offer is at US$800 million to restart the mine, it has offered to the Government a 52/48 split with 27 per cent of the country’s 52 as free equity.

“It has offered to pay the balance of PNG’s 25 per cent equity and recoup it at 5.5 per cent interest. The company has offered to pay for all assets at Porgera mine and get new ones where necessary.

“The offer is attractive and certainly superior to that under the Framework Agreement with Barrick so why has this offer and others never been considered,” Mr Namah said.

He claims that the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister James Marape has a perfect chance to have closed discussions with the mine’s previous operator, Barrick, when the Special Mining Lease expired in 2019.

He said Barrick has already had an offer on the table but the Government chose instead to close this operating profitable gold mine over environmental damage and other issues and awarded the SML to the State’s own Kumul Mining Ltd.

 “Reopening the mine will cost a further K1 billion which Barrick is being asked to finance the landowner’s equity and Kumul Holding’s 36 per cent.”

Mr Namah clarified that Barrick is going to recoup that money before PNG gets a sniff at any equity revenue, which will be approximately 10 years’ time before PNG offered the option to acquire 100 per cent equity.

He added that the Framework Agreement the Government handed to landowners in Porgera recently is not legally binding because if disagreements arise, then negotiations will collapse.

Freddy Mou