The managing director of Kumul Mineral Holdings Ltd (KMHL), Dr John Kuwimb, recently discussed the new Porgera company, which will be incorporated after Mineral Resources Enga (MRE) signs the shareholders’ agreement.

“The company will have eight directors – four from Barrick Niugini Ltd and four from PNG,” Dr Kuwimb explained.

“The next agreement is the Mining Development Contract, after which we can have the development forum. The operatorship agreement is a private commercial arrangement between Barrick as the operator of the mine and the new Porgera project company as the owner of the mining lease. The mining leaseholder is like the owner of a land title.”

To explain further, Dr Kuwimb likened the situation to a landowner who hires a carpenter to build a house on the land. In that scenario, he said, the carpenter is just building the house; they don’t own the land.

“We call it operatorship because Barrick will operate the mine. The project company holds the special mining licence, and Barrick has the knowledge and skills to operate the mine,” he said.

“The landowners want the mine to re-open as soon as possible. They have been telling us (that) for a long time.”

Kuwimb added, “What we are concerned about now is the care and maintenance cost that Barrick is paying at the moment to keep the mine in a maintainable form.”