SYDNEY, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Papua New Guinea wants to keep 40% of gold produced from the proposed Wafi-Golpu project, the country’s commerce minister said, creating a potential hurdle to an agreement with co-owners Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold.
The miners had been hoping to secure a mining lease over the major gold and copper deposit earlier this year, before a change in PNG’s leadership and a shift in minerals policy led to delays.
“We’d like to see Newcrest come to the negotiating table on this,” PNG’s Minister for Commerce and Industry Wera Mori told Reuters in a phone interview late on Thursday.
“They get 60% of the production, we get 40%. If they don’t like it we’ll mine it ourselves – we own the resources.” Mori said that the government could offer concessions on duties and taxes as part of the negotiations and he said he was confident a deal would be struck.
Newcrest and Harmony each own 50% of Wafi-Golpu, while the PNG government has the right to purchase an equity interest.