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Source: Porgera Joint Venture.

Barrick Gold has withdrawn its 2020 guidance from the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea following the government’s decision not to renew the Canadian company’s 20-year special mining lease.

This led Barrick to place the Porgera mine on temporary care and maintenance.

The company has stated it would contest the Papua New Guinean Government’s move, adding that it is “tantamount to nationalisation without due process.”

Despite this setback, Barrick noted positive results across all its operations for the first quarter of this year.

Barrick produced 1.2 million ounces of gold during the March quarter across the global operations and achieved an operating cash flow increase to $US889 million ($1.3 billion).

The company also reported lower copper costs of $US1.55 per pound, demonstrating the resilience of Barrick’s copper business.

It also closed the sale of the Massawa project in Senegal, West Africa and signed an agreement with the Tanzanian Government to resume concentrate exports.

Barrick chief executive Mark Bristow said he was pleased the company’s operational and financial delivery was on plan despite the group’s focus shifting in the later part of the quarter to ensure the safety of workers, communities and the business.

“Our sustainability and regional teams have done a great job in taking timely action to introduce comprehensive and carefully considered measures at all our sites and offices to manage and mitigate any impacts of COVID-19 on our employees and contractors,” Bristow said.

“In Barrick’s spirit of partnership, we have extended COVID-19 support to our local communities and our host countries and are working closely with their health authorities.

“To date, we have donated more than $US20 million to our host countries, many of whom have limited healthcare facilities, to fund the purchase of medical equipment and personal protective equipment.”