VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- K92 Mining Inc. (“K92” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: KNT; OTCQX: KNTNF) provides the following update on recent activity with regards to community relations.
Last week, during the State of Emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of disaffected youths from the Bilimoian community blocked the haul road from the process plant to the Company’s Kainantu Gold Mine, demanding that the access road to their villages be upgraded. The blockage of the haul road did not halt production at the process plant but did result in mining operations being suspended for 48 hours.
The access road in question is located many kilometres from the mine in Papua New Guinea and its maintenance is the responsibility of local Government. It is not used by the mine; however, K92 had already commenced work on maintenance and upgrading of the road as one of its projects supporting the local community. In addition, the Provincial Government has also committed funds to upgrading the village access road. High rainfall had forced the work to be temporarily suspended and assurances were provided that work would recommence as soon as the weather allowed.
Despite these assurances, the youths refused to leave the haul road, and the police who had been monitoring the situation therefore moved in and arrested many of the demonstrators. During this action, one demonstrator was injured and required hospital treatment.
While the arrests resulted in the blockade being lifted, there were concerns that the situation could escalate and as a result, the Company took the decision to temporarily suspend all operations and remove the majority of the workforce from site to diffuse the situation.
The situation did not escalate and following the intervention of the Bilimoian leadership through the Bilimoia Interim Landowners Association (“BILA”); and of the local member of parliament, the Hon Johnson Tuke, who is also the Minister for Mining, the underlying issues were resolved.
Operations are now returning to normal and at this point the Company does not believe that the incident will have a material effect on production for the quarter.
The Company notes that the recently announced easing of domestic travel restrictions under the State of Emergency should also reduce the impact of the SOE on operational efficiency, allowing more efficient movement of skilled PNG National employees to and from site.
The Company, BILA and the Minister for Mining have committed to working closely together to ensure that there is no repeat of this type of incident. A major focus will be completing the outstanding review of the existing Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”), which has suffered repeated delays outside of the control of the Company or BILA, most recently due to the current State of Emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MOA underpins the relationship between the Company, the Community and Government and sets out commitments from the various parties.
K92 Mining Inc. is engaged in the production of gold, copper and silver from the Kora and Kora North deposits of the Kainantu Gold Mine in the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea, as well as exploration and development of mineral deposits in the immediate vicinity of the mine. The Company declared commercial production from Kainantu in February 2018 and is in a strong financial position with US$22 million in cash (as at December 31, 2019).
The Company commenced an expansion of the mine based on an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment on the property which was published in January 2019. K92 is operated by a team of mining company professionals with extensive international mine-building and operational experience.
On Behalf of the Company,
John Lewins, Chief Executive Officer and Director
For further information, please contact David Medilek, P.Eng., CFA at +1-604-687-7130.
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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION: This news release includes certain “forward-looking statements” under applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. All statements that address future plans, activities, events, or developments that the Company believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur are forward-looking information, including statements regarding the realization of the preliminary economic analysis for the Kainantu Project, expectations of future cash flows, the planned plant expansion, production results, cost of sales, sales of production, potential expansion of resources and the generation of further drilling results which may or may not occur. Forward-looking statements and information contained herein are based on certain factors and assumptions regarding, among other things, the market price of the Company’s securities, metal prices, exchange rates, taxation, the estimation, timing and amount of future exploration and development, capital and operating costs, the availability of financing, the receipt of regulatory approvals, environmental risks, title disputes, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, accidents, labour disputes, claims and limitations on insurance coverage and other risks of the mining industry, changes in national and local government regulation of mining operations in PNG, and regulations and other matters.. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.