Last week, key senior MPs, including Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil, crossed the floor to join the opposition to PNG.
Marape said they were within their rights to do so on Facebook, but he stayed prime minister in the meantime and lobbied for a greater return of capital from the region, including Porgera.
This week, Barrick Nuigini (BNL) said that “patently false comments made by some individuals connecting the recent visit of Bristow to the political maneuver were meant solely to establish a fabricated story about the role of BNL in advancing their own political agenda.
In good conscience, Mr. Bristow and his team traveled to PNG under a mutual arrangement between Prime Minister Marape and Mr. Bristow to partake in discussions on the restart of the Porgera mine.
“On his recent tour, Mr. Bristow and his staff, along with some of his ministerial colleagues, Enga Governor Peter Ipatas, representatives of the State Negotiation Team, and Porgera landowners and their team, did not consult with anyone other than Prime Minister Marape.”
In October, Bristow and Marape also conducted talks to explore the road to Porgera’s reopening.
After April, after PNG declined to expand a special mining lease (SML), the mine has been mothballed, with BNL opposing both the rejection and the August decision by PNG to grant an SML to state-owned Kumul Minerals Holdings.
Porgera is 47.5 percent held by both Barrick and Zijin Mining, with the Enga provincial government and landowners owning the remaining 5 percent.
For Porgera, which last year delivered 284,000 ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of US$1003/oz for the Canada-based firm, Barrick removed the 2020 guidance.