Prime Minister James Marape, MP today expressed satisfaction at the progress of confirmation of clan agents for the Porgera Landowners Association.

Prime Minister Marape recognised that the confirmation of the clan agents is the first step towards reorganising the PLOA, an important party to the Mining Development Forum.

He noted that as of this afternoon, eighteen (18) clan agents out of the required 25 agents have been confirmed or reconfirmed. It is anticipated that this process will be concluded tomorrow or Thursday.

Prime Minister Marape expressed satisfaction that the multi-agency State Team on the ground and led by the Mineral Resources Authority is doing an excellent job in progressing this matter in the last week and a half of non-stop consultations with all the landowners.

“I want to appreciate the State Team for being very proactive after the Wabag consultations to come this far in the confirmation of the agents. This process involves the validation of the clans, their popular interests and the conduct of an official selection and election of the agents by popular vote. It is very important to our processes.”

The Prime Minister was also pleased to learn of the strong support and participation of all land-owning groups during the validation and confirmation process. There have been no reported security incidents, which means that the landowners have held true to their assurances and word in Wabag that they will secure this process for all of us.

“I note with satisfaction the demonstration of good will, and deep respect and understanding of the required support by the landowners to do their part to ensure that this process is handled with due diligence and without a single incident reported thus far. This represents an enormous spirit of good will and a willingness to support the government and the joint venture entity in this process.”

The Prime Minister reiterated his intention to ensure that the Porgera Mine is opened on or by 16 September 2021.

He assured all stakeholders that the State Negotiation Team has been empowered to negotiate and complete the Mine Commencement Agreement, the Mining Development Contract and ensure that the operating entity is incorporated and the joint venture is established at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that the Government fulfills its intention to reopen the mine in September 2021.

“The State Negotiating Team is working extremely hard to meet the required timeframe to ensure that the mine is reopened in September 2021. Indeed, a mine reopening plan has been discussed by Barrick, the operator of the new joint venture, and while parts of the milestones proposed are slightly delayed, we believe it is still possible to achieve our timetable.”