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Subject: Ipatas wants more stake at Porgera mine

Good Idea
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Date Posted: Fri, Apr 13 2007, 12:41:36pm

Substantial equity participation by PNGeans is critical for all development initiatives.

The eras for settling for crubs and left overs should be a thing of the past.

When we have the money, equity participation and national ownership ought to be pursued vigrously to maximum gains for the country.


Business Weekend Edition Fri - Sun 13th April - 15th April , 2007

Ipatas wants more stake at Porgera mine

ENGA Governor Peter Ipatas wants the Government to buy 20 per cent stake in the Porgera gold mine in the event Emperor Mines wants to offload its interest.
He said there were strong rumours Emperor would offload its 20 per cent shareholding in Porgera as it did with its interest in the Vatukoula mine in Fiji.
Mr Ipatas said the Government should make a move now and increase local shareholding in the project to 25 per cent.
The Enga provincial government and the landowners already own five per cent in Porgera through Mineral Resources Enga.
MRE is managed by the Mineral Resources Development Company on behalf of the people of Enga.
Canadian miner Barrick Gold is the majority shareholder with 75 per cent and according to rumours, the company might make a bid to have 95 per cent control of the mine.
“The Government must now make a move to take back the 20 per cent it lost when it decided to sell Orogen to Oil Search,” Mr Ipatas said.
Oil Search sold the 20 per cent interest in Porgera when it decided to concentrate on its oil and gas assets in the country.
He said Barrick would not be allowed to have total control of Porgera Joint Venture.
“With good commodity prices and a potential extension of the mine life of Porgera, the Government, through the Mineral Resources Development Company, should buy out the 20 per cent in Porgera,” he said.
“Then the people of Enga should be given a further five per cent (on commercial terms) to increase their shareholding to 10 per cent.”
Mr Ipatas said the surplus gains the Government was boasting about should be parked aside and used to increase Government interest in major mining and petroleum companies.
He said the days when the Government and the landowners received only royalties should be over and the Government and landowners should now become effective players in these two industries.
He said one of things his Peoples’ Party would ensure was majority shareholding of all resource projects would remain in Papua New Guinea.
He said his party would also ensure Papua New Guineans reaped the maximum benefits from their resources.
Mr Ipatas said such investments should be promoted so that Papua New Guineans became active players in any investments such as mining and petroleum, fisheries and forestry.
He said the mistakes of the past should not be repeated.


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[> Subject: Re: Ipatas wants more stake at Porgera mine

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Date Posted: Mon, Apr 16 2007, 01:08:30pm

Business Monday 16th April , 2007

MRDC advances talks

MINERAL Resources Development Company Ltd (MRDC) has advanced negotiations to increase Mineral Resource Enga’s shareholding in the Porgera gold mine.
MRDC chief executive officer Francis Kaupa said the company was disappointed they were not given the opportunity by Emperor Mines Limited to access their data room and formally bid for the 20 per cent interest in Porgera Joint Venture it was selling to Barrick Gold Limited.
“However, that's what happens in the real commercial world. The people of PNG have missed out again on the opportunity to acquire a 20 per cent interest in the Porgera Gold Mine,” he said.
“Now that the deal between Barrick and Emperor has been concluded, our role as managers of Mineral Resources Enga would be to try and negotiate with Barrick to see if Barrick can on-sell 5 per cent to MRE so that MRE can increase their equity from the current 5 per cent to 10 per cent.
Mr Kaupa said the process had already began and MRDC would be looking to secure funds to buy that interest at fair market value.
Both Barrick Gold Corporation and Emperor announced on Friday they had entered into a definitive buy and sale agreement over Emperor’s 20 per cent interest in the Porgera mine.
Barrick’s interest in Porgera will increase from 75 per cent to 95 per cent on the completion of this transaction. The total consideration is $US250 million (K786.1 million) in cash plus an adjustment amount. Barrick will be entitled to the production and the economic benefit of the 20 per cent interest in Porgera, from the effective date of April 1, 2007.
In connection with the transaction, Emperor has granted Barrick the option of subscribing up to 15 per cent of Emperor’s present issued capital within 10 days following Emperor’s special shareholders’ meeting.
“Consolidating the ownership of the Porgera mine is part of Barrick’s strategy of owning long-life, world class assets," said Greg Wilkins, Barrick president and chief executive officer.
“Barrick is currently in discussions regarding the possible sale of up to a 5 per cent interest to its joint venture partner, Mineral Resources Enga Limited, for the proportionate acquisition cost paid by Barrick.”
Emperor chief executive officer Brad Gordon said the sale provided an opportunity for the company to clear debt. “We are pleased to have secured a full price for our interest in Porgera,” Mr Gordon said. The transaction follows Emperor’s announcement of February the company would be pursuing a restructuring plan in order to retire debt and realise the full potential of the company’s assets. Following completion of the transaction, Emperor will have no debt and will have cash resources of about $A130 million (K339.7 million).

Emperor’s key mining assets will comprise the wholly-owned Tolukuma gold mine, as well as a copper/gold exploration portfolio incorporating more than 5000 square kilometres of exploration tenements in mineral-rich PNG.


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