PNG to take bigger share of gold mine

PNG's government plans to keep more of its own gold resources, to benefit its people.
PNG's government plans to keep more of its own gold resources, to benefit its people.

Papua New Guinea wants to retain at least 30 per cent of the gold it currently exports as it transforms its economy under new government leadership.

PNG's Minister for Commerce and Industry Wera Mori told an investor forum in Sydney that the resources-rich nation was developing policies to keep more of the commodities it produces in the country.

PNG was the world's 14th largest gold producer in 2018, according to the World Gold Council.

Mori said the PNG government wants a larger share of the Porgera gold mine as part of lease-renewal talks, diluting the ownership of joint venture partners Barrick Gold Corp and Zijin Mining Group.

He said a portion of Barrick and Zijin's stakes would be given to the national and provincial governments and to landowners.

The minister also said that PNG would consider pegging its currency, the kina, to gold, rather than the US dollar.

PNG's central bank currently fixes its currency to a narrow US dollar band, propping up the kina's value while creating a shortage of dollars available in the Pacific nation.

James Marape, the former finance minister who became PNG's new leader in May, has put some of the world's biggest resources companies on notice over a perceived lack of wealth flowing from their projects back to communities.

Australian Associated Press