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Barrick joint venture takes Papua New Guinea mine scrap to World Bank arbitrator


TORONTO — Owners of the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea say they are going to the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes to try to resolve a battle with the federal government that resulted in closing of the mine.

Barrick Niugini Ltd., the joint venture mine operator that is owned 47.5 per cent each by Canada's Barrick Gold Corp. and partner Zijin Mining Group of China, suspended production in April and placed the mine on care and maintenance status.

Last month, it announced it would lay off 2,650 local mine workers by the end of July, making permanent temporary layoffs enacted when the government said it would not extend its special mining lease.

In May, Barrick Gold removed Porgera output from its overall 2020 production guidance, dropping it by about 200,000 ounces to between 4.6 and 5 million ounces.

In a news release, Barrick Niugini says the government's decision to reject its lease extension application has resulted in financial damage to the company and in significant job losses and damage to the local, provincial and national economies of Papua New Guinea.

It says it is seeking to find a solution through the conciliation process to benefit the company and all stakeholders, but will also continue to pursue judicial review proceedings in the country's national court. 

Five per cent of Barrick Niugini is held by local landowners and the Enga provincial government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ABX)

The Canadian Press

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