Barrick allowed to operate Porgera mine, lease extension being considered

FILE PHOTO: The logo of sponsor Barrick Gold Corporation is seen as visitors arrive at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

(Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp said on Friday the National Court of Papua New Guinea had ruled that the miner could continue to operate the Porgera gold mine, while the country’s government considers an application to extend the lease for the mine.

The government is looking into an application by Barrick Niugini Ltd, a joint venture between Barrick and China’s Zijin Mining Group, for a 20-year extension on Porgera’s special mining lease that expires on August 16, the company had said.

Papua New Guinea’s recently elected Prime Minister James Marape has pledged to “tweak and turn” laws governing how natural resources are extracted to help lift the South Pacific country out of poverty.

“I am confident that we shall be able to reach a broad agreement on the terms of the lease extension,” Barrick’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow said in Thursday’s statement.

In June, PM Marape said major reforms to earn more taxes from the country’s natural resources would not take effect for years, but the country’s treasurer put Total SA, Exxon Mobil Corp, Newcrest Mining and their partners on notice that it wants to get more benefits from their gas and mining projects.

Reporting by Debroop Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur