Porgera will fix FX, economy: PNG PM Marape

Porgera mine (File photo)

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marape says once the Porgera gold mine comes on next year, it will help fix the country’s economy, especially the shortage of foreign exchange (forex).

“Our people need the mine to start immediately. Our investors need the mine to start immediately,” he said.

“The economy needs Porgera. I do apologise for the lengthy (four years) delay.

“If Porgera comes on next year, we will secure our economy next year, especially the foreign exchange (forex) issue. This time next year, Porgera will alleviate the forex issue.”

Marape said this while supporting a bill tabled by Mining Minister Sir Ano Pala in Parliament to allow the mine to start immediately and at the same time the protect rights of the landowners.

The Porgera gold mine has been under care and maintenance for almost four years awaiting restart.

Major operator Barrick Niugini Limited told The National in an earlier (2021) interview, the cost of restarting the mine was expected at around US$300 million (K1.09 billion). Sir Ano said that the Mining (New Porgera) (Amendment) Act 2023 recognised that it was in the national interest that mining operations at the Porgera re-started as soon as possible.

“The Amendment Act (also) enables the landowners to start benefiting from the mine’s operations immediately.”

Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas said he was in support of the bill “because rights of landowners are preserved, it won’t be an issue for us (Enga).”

“I have been governor for a longtime and haven’t realised the impact Porgera had on the nation.”

According to Sir Ano, the amended Act once passed would achieve one uniformity within the mining, oil and gas sector. “Whereas, the Oil and Gas Act 1998, allows the licence holder to commence activities while continuing to negotiate compensation with landowners, or having compensation determined by the Warden; the Mining Act under Section 155 actually prevents the tenement holder from entering into an occupying the land until the tenement holder has agreed on compensation with the landowners, or the compensation is determined by the Warden,” he said.