The South African gold producer announced in April the signing of a framework memorandum of understanding with then partner Newcrest Mining (now Newmont) and the government which is a first step towards the grant of an SML.
Once the SML is in place, Harmony can take Wafi Golpu to its board and then to shareholders. Before that, Harmony will update its 2018 feasibility study in which it estimated total project capital of $5.38bn, down $1bn from a study in 2016.
In 2020, a Papua New Guinea court dismissed a stay order lodged by the then governor of Morobe province, where Wafi Golpu would be built, who claimed he should have been consulted on the MoU. After that, Wafi Golpu was sidelined amid political unrest in Papua New Guinea which included a period in which Marape was re-elected prime minister.
Marape’s campaign for re-election proved fraught and violent as he fought off predecessor and former party leader Peter O’Neill’s attempts to seize back power.
The United States embassy in Port Moresby said police had returned to work, but that tensions remained high.
“The relative calm can change at a moment’s notice,” it said in a statement, adding it had received reports of violence in several other areas of the country.