Papua New Guinea’s National Court puts Wafi-Golpu negotiations on hold pending hearing


Discussions between Papua New Guinea government agencies and the developers of the US$9 billion Wafi-Golpu copper-gold project have been put on hold by the country’s National Court while it considers an application for leave for a judicial review. Meanwhile, work under the project’s exploration licence continues.

Wafi-Golpu is a joint venture between Newcrest Mining Limited and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited. Credit: Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture

The application, made last Tuesday, is for leave for a judicial review into the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed last December between the developers, Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold, and the PNG Government.

The application was made by lawyers for the Morobe Provincial Government and Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu. While the case is considered, the National Court ordered a halt in discussions, including any landowner forums.

The case will return for a directions hearing on May 24 at the National Court in Lae.

Business Advantage PNG understands that other work under the project’s Exploration Licence is continuing as usual.

As Business Advantage PNG reported last December, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is not part of the formal requirements for the granting of a Special Mining Licence under PNG’s Mining Act.

At the time, Newcrest described the MOU as ‘an affirmation of the parties’ intent to proceed with the Wafi-Golpu Project, subject to finalisation of the permitting process and Newcrest and Harmony Board approvals.’

Story continues after advertisment...

A final Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) still needs to be finalised, setting out the benefit sharing for the project, before a licence can be granted. This agreement must be preceded by a Development Forum conducted between the national government, provincial government and affected landowners.

Earlier this month, the Provincial Government delivered its position paper on the mine—one of the precursors to a Development Forum—outlining its proposals for benefit sharing to PNG’s Mineral Resources Authority.

The December 2018 MOU stated a goal of signing a final agreement by 30 June 2019. Given recent political disruptions and other minor delays, this deadline now looks likely to be pushed back.


  1. koms.Ggondi says

    LO & Government Negotiations on all these agreements, together with progressing the Development Forum, must continue with the involving all relevant parties,we need the country like PNG to Run even though we have an extensive Environmental Impact Assessment process underway (including public consultations), under the Environment Act, which is currently being assessed by the PNG Government.if only the investors come up with their sucessfull planned that will assit to avoid environment damage by control the tailings through the river system

Leave a Reply