Pacific Battle Over Gold Mine Ends With Barrick Stake Deal (Bloomberg News – October 16, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Papua New Guinea’s push for greater sway over its own mineral wealth scored a win, with Barrick Gold Corp. agreeing to a deal that will see the South Pacific nation get a big stake in a key gold mine.

Barrick will give Papua New Guinea a “major share” of the Porgera mine, the country’s Prime Minister James Marape said Thursday in a joint statement with the Toronto-based miner.

In exchange, Barrick can re-open and keep operating the facility, which had been suspended after the government didn’t extend its mining lease in April, and there would be a “fair sharing” of the economic benefits.

The in-principle agreement follows a months-long showdown that escalated to legal challenges and tested Marape’s pledge to obtain a greater share of Papua New Guinea’s resources wealth. It echoes similar drives by other commodities-rich nations, including Indonesia, to direct more revenues to state coffers.

“I look forward to hearing of the outcomes of further discussions on the economic principles to guide future mining operations,” Marape said after talks in Port Moresby with Barrick’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow.

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