Seeking to reopen PNG gold mine, Barrick CEO meets landowners

SYDNEY, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp boss Mark Bristow met Papua New Guinea landowners in the capital of Port Moresby on Thursday to discuss royalty arrangements, the landowners said, as the miner seeks to negotiate a reopening of the remote Porgera gold mine.

The Canadian miner’s lease over the highlands mine, which it operated with China’s Zijin Mining, lapsed when Prime Minister James Marape refused to extend it in April.

Last month Bristow and Marape agreed that Barrick and Zijin would be allowed to remain as operator, but few other details seem settled and Bristow told a mining conference that fuller resolution of the dispute was “a long way off”.

The Porgera Landowners Association, representing some local landowners, said in a statement that they met Bristow in a Port Moresby hotel and are pressing for direct royalty payments. It was unclear if anything was agreed.

Barrick and Barrick Niugini, the joint venture which operated Porgera had no immediate response when contacted by Reuters over email. Representatives of Marape also had no immediate response. (Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)