/The Drilldown: Negotiations ordered between Barrick Gold and Papua New Guinea

The Drilldown: Negotiations ordered between Barrick Gold and Papua New Guinea

The Lead

Although Papua New Guinea’s prime minister has said that the government would not be granting Barrick Gold Corp. an extension on operations at its Porgera gold mine due to its impact on the environment and social climate, the country’s National Court ruled yesterday that Barrick and the government must participate in negotiations on the request for a 20-year lease extension.

The two parties are expected to return to court on the May 8 after having participated in negotiations and a mediator will be assigned if a resolution is not made.

Mining operations have been put on pause by Barrick in an effort to keep its employees safe during the current global pandemic.

Reuters reports.


The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in March saw crude production levels increase by the largest total in 30 years as a result of the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

According to findings from a Bloomberg survey, Saudi Arabia produced over 11 million barrels per day (bpd) and continued to keep production levels substantially high even after coming to an agreement with OPEC+ to lower output levels mid-April.

OPEC daily production soared by 1.73 million barrels per day in April, with the organization collectively pumping 30.36 million barrels per day — almost four times the amount they need to produce on average this quarter, according to data from the International Energy Agency. This came as global demand for oil hit a wall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil announced a first-quarter loss of $610 million, even after having participated in an inventory writedown of $3 billion due to lack of global demand and low oil prices, reports Reuters.

On Friday morning at 8:45am EDT, West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$19.62 and Brent Crude at US$26.51.

In Canada

Canada’s forestry industry is among the sectors that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the British Columbia provincial government has revealed that they will not be collecting a stumpage from companies to collect timber for the next three months in an effort to mitigate the financial instability.

“The deferral, with interest, will leave eligible companies with an estimated $80 million in the short term, so they can pay employees, pay contractors and pay other bills,” explained Forest Minister Doug Donaldson, according to the Canadian Press.

Over 7,000 workers have been hit by the closure of 45 B.C. located sawmills who have seen permanent closures or are closed for the indefinite future, according to Donaldson.

In other news, Canadian energy company Imperial Oil Ltd. revealed today that they made a non-cash writedown of $301 million in its first quarter and experienced a loss of $188 million, according to Reuters.

Unlike many energy producing companies around the world, TC Energy Corp. revealed that they made a profit of $1.15 billion during their first quarter, up from $1 billion a year ago, reports The Canadian Press.

Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$13.83 and Western Canadian Select at US$15.34 this morning at 8:45am EDT.


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