By SHIRLEY MAULUDU
AUSTRALIAN firm, Fortescue Metals Group, will now begin work in Papua New Guinea to explore opportunities for future investment in the country’s energy sector.
This follows the signing of a geothermal deed of agreement between the firm and Government, through Kumul Consolidated Holdings Ltd, yesterday.
Prime Minister James Marape said this was an indication that investors were still interested in investing in the country despite the downturn in the economy brought on by the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
“In the midst of a global pandemic, countries are looking for investors. Papua New Guinea has a friend closer to home, choosing PNG as an investment destination,” he said. “Papua New Guinea can be a hub to generating a cleaner, greener energy into the future.”
Speaking from Australia yesterday, Fortescue chairman Dr Andrew Forrest said: “This deed marks PNG’s first step towards developing a significant industry that will never run out of resources. Renewable energy is infinite.”
“We will ensure that development occurs at no cost to the local environment,” he said.
“Our project team are with you now in PNG to meet with responsible people and authorities.
“Prime Minister (James Marape), it is my genuine hope, that we stand side by side, representing PNG to the world showing just how strong it can be in this new era in what will be the world’s largest industry.”
Public Enterprises and State Investment Minister William Duma said the agreement recognised the Government’s support for commercial development of PNG’s geothermal resources, which would underpin green industrial operations domestically or be used to export energy to international markets, setting the path for sustainable green energy in the country.
“Such a project would require social, environmental, and technical feasibility studies to be carried out for geothermal power generation facilities, power transmission lines, and possibly a coastal port and industrial precinct,” he said.
Meanwhile, Duma mentioned provinces with potential for further exploration which included West New Britain, Milne Bay, Madang, East Sepik and Morobe.
By SHIRLEY MAULUDU