At Harmony Gold Mining Company’s Papua New Guinea operations (PNG), Hidden Valley continues to be impacted by Covid-19 related staffing issues as vaccine hesitancy remains a large problem across PNG. While international travel isolation requirements into PNG for fully vaccinated employees is now no longer required, return travel into Queensland, Australia, now requires an additional three days’ self-isolation with a third polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screen test post the two weeks’ hotel quarantine which all have an impact on work rosters and production at the mine.
Total tonnes mined were up by 57% compared to the previous quarter. The Hidden Valley crushing and overland conveyor circuit throughput of 1 104 556 tonnes was higher by 76% quarter-on-quarter. This is the highest since Q2FY20 and the first time since then that the total tonnes transported via the overland conveyor circuit exceeded 1 000 000 tonnes for the quarter.
Harmony and its joint venture partner Newcrest Mining Limited, continue to work with the PNG Government to progress permitting of the Wafi-Golpu Project and obtain a Special Mining Lease. This included engagement with the PNG Government during the quarter regarding potential terms of a Mining Development Contract, which is required for a Special Mining Lease.
As previously advised, the Governor of Morobe Province and the Morobe Provincial Government commenced legal proceedings in the National Court in Port Moresby seeking judicial review of the decision to issue the Environment Permit which was granted in December 2020.
On 10 September 2021, the National Court made an interim order staying the Environment Permit pending the determination of the judicial review. However, on 15 September 2021 the State obtained leave from the Supreme Court to appeal that National Court stay order. The judicial review proceeding is now on hold until the State’s appeal against the stay order is decided by the Supreme Court. These events have not impacted project and permitting activities, which continue.