SINGAPORE/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) has offered an extra 15% stake in its Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea to local landowners, according to a letter from its CEO, in a bid to break an impasse with the national government over the mine’s future.
Barrick, the world’s second-largest gold miner, was last month refused an extension of its expired lease over the mine that has been troubled by social unrest and pollution concerns.
Any deal would be the first struck by a resources company under economic nationalist prime minister, James Marape, who came to power a year ago seeking to retain a bigger share of the country’s resource riches.
Talks between the government and Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) over a gasfield broke down in February, leaving a proposed $13 billion gas project expansion in limbo, while Australia’s Newcrest Mining Ltd (NCM.AX) is in talks on a major gold project.
The government’s position on Barrick’s offer is unclear. Marape’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment and he has previously expressed a desire for the state to operate the mine itself.