Mining Deal Makers Bet Big on PNG Being the Place to Be in 2024

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 4, 2024

With an incredible amount of monetary, fiscal, and geopolitical uncertainty around the world, gold should be the place to be. For thousands of years, gold has acted as a store of wealth and stability during times of turbulence. However, while the price of gold has been strong, gold equities have been as listless with trading volumes and prices down sharply over the past several months.

While many speculators in the space may have temporarily thrown in the towel, others with a track record of winning on some very big contrarian bets are doing the opposite. 

Recently, legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller, through his Duquesne Family Office, announced he was buying more shares in the world’s top two gold miners, Newmont Gold and Barrick Gold. Likewise, billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach stated in an interview, “I like gold because economic systems are in bad shape. The response in the developed world is to take rates to zero and give people money.”

Bryan Slusarchuk, CEO of explorer Great Pacific Gold and no stranger to conducting transactions when precious metals markets are dire, notes, “When everything is wonderful, it can be more difficult to identify and acquire great projects which is opposite to the significant opportunities that exist in tougher times. Right now, the macro set up for gold is incredibly constructive while at the same time gold equities are struggling and access to capital for many groups is very tough. Therefore, as a group with great access to capital and technical talent, we see this as a window of time we can make some serious potential returns.” 

The last time mining dealmaker Slusarchuk saw an environment like this was in 2015 when he and some partners acquired a gold asset in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for the bargain basement price of $2 million cash and the promise of some future success-based payments. Based on excellent geology and execution, the company K92 Mining Inc, has traded to a market capitalization as high as $2 billion and has represented some life changing wins for early investors. 

As they say, history doesn’t repeat but it does rhyme and Slusarchuk and several familiar partners have again acquired a huge new land package in PNG and have just announced the start up of exploration. The large 2166 sq km property assembly consists of multiple advanced stage assets with past gold production as well as early-stage exploration opportunities. He notes, “PNG is a land of incredible opportunity, very talented people, and world-class geology. Over the past decade we have had a lot of success in the country, due in large part to great projects and the amazing leadership of K92 CEO John Lewins. People and projects are both important, and I think Great Pacific Gold also has that combination in spades. While Great Pacific Gold is a different company than K92, I think a great starting point for both occurred by acquiring foundational assets when gold equities market were out of favor.”

While it is early days for Great Pacific Gold in PNG, the company also has gold projects in Australia that have quietly started to attract some serious industry attention, due to a recent ultra high-grade gold discovery that graded 8m at 106 g/t gold including an exceptionally high-grade zone of 5m at 166 g/t Gold. Slusarchuk notes, “While this is a small market capitalization now, we have seen these things go parabolic in the past. This is early days and with exploration there is always risk, but I believe the potential for our projects in both Australia and PNG is significant and these tough markets have allowed us to acquire great ground prior to what I think will be an excellent environment for gold equities soon.” 

Great Pacific Gold isn’t the only company making waves in PNG during these poor global conditions. The previously mentioned K92 Mining continues an aggressive production ramp up in PNG as they march towards a targeted 500,000 oz of high-margin production in 2027 while also now having become the country’s largest exploration entity, the world’s largest miner Newmont has just entered the country in recognition of the region’s world class geology and Barrick Gold the second largest miner just restarted their Porgera operation. Great assets with tough overall market conditions have presented opportunities before and it will be interesting to watch if this time sees a repeat of this compelling scenario.

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

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