SYDNEY, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Papua New Guinea plans to take a larger share of the Porgera gold mine as part of lease-renewal talks, diluting the ownership of joint venture partners Barrick Gold Corp and Zijin Mining Group, the country’s commerce minister told Reuters on Monday.
The planned changes are part of a push by the South Pacific archipelago to transform its economy under new government leadership amid a perceived lack of benefits flowing from resources projects back to communities.
Porgera, located in PNG’s northern highlands region, is expected to produce 240,000 to 260,000 ounces of gold this year. Barrick and Zijin each own 47.5% of the mine, with the remaining 5% held by landowner group, Mineral Resources Enga.
PNG’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, Wera Mori, said a portion of Barrick and Zijin’s stakes would be given to the national and provincial governments and to landowners.
“We would like to see the mine to continue, but this time to be structured in such a way with a lot more national interest in it,” Mori told Reuters in an interview in Sydney.
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