June 29, 2018 / 3:04 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Power restored, production resumes at PNG's Porgera gold mine after Feb quake

* Gold mining resumes, power restored after Feb. 26 quake

* Electricity repairs 5 months ahead of schedule - miner (Updates with Barrick statement)

SYDNEY, June 29 (Reuters) - Mining has resumed and power has been restored at the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea’s remote highlands run by Barrick Gold Co, four months after an earthquake disrupted production, the mine’s operator said.

“The mine has resumed full operations and power has been restored,” Barrick (Niugini) Ltd, which operates the mine on behalf of co-owners Barrick and China’s Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd, said in a statement.

Mains power was restored at Porgera on June 1 and mine production resumed on Monday, the statement said, adding this was “five months ahead of the original estimated repair schedule.”

A deadly earthquake struck Papua New Guinea’s remote highlands on Feb. 26, killing 100 people and knocking out the power plant that supplied the Porgera mine, which is some 600 km (370 miles) northwest of the country’s capital, Port Moresby.

The quake halted Exxon Mobil Corp’s nearby liquefied natural gas project for several months and left Porgera with “limited processing functions” and reliant on diesel backup generators for power.

Civil unrest has also plagued the region in the wake of the disaster, with an emergency declared in the highlands after rioters torched a plane and government buildings in the provincial capital of Mendi.

Barrick has not, since the quake struck, adjusted Porgera production forecasts made in March and Barrick (Niugini) did not provide a production outlook on Wednesday.

Barrick in March expected its 47.5 percent share of Porgera production to yield 230,000-255,000 ounces of gold this year, putting total yield below the roughly 900,000 ounces the mine produced during peak years when it was regarded as one of the world’s foremost deposits.

Zijin shares fell half a percent in early trade in Shanghai, while the broader market rose 0.2 percent. It was outside market hours in Toronto where Barrick is listed. (Reporting by Tom Westbrook; editing by Richard Pullin)

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