Bring in more projects: Expert

Business

By CLARISSA MOI
PAPUA New Guinea should continue getting resource projects coming online if the country wants to keep growing its economy, an industry expert says. Santos PNG general manager and a council member in the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Chris Chambers said this during the chamber’s webinar series on Thursday. He said it was important that the Government and the industry worked together to get secured pipeline of projects coming through. “It is also important to see that sanctioning of large projects such as the PNG LNG gives a very quick economic fill up to the economy as getting taxes, (the different taxes) and increase in employment.” According to a snapshot of a report from the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Institute (PNG EITI), the resource industry accounts for 88 per cent of the country’s total export and 28 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. PNG is in the top 10 of the most resource industry dependent economies in the world, according to World Bank. “It’s not necessarily a great thing, but it’s something we have to work within and try to maximise,” Chambers said.  Some of the country’s outstanding resource projects includes:

  • THE Porgera gold mine in Enga which is scheduled to be reopened later this year;
  • THE US$5.4 billion (K154.91bil) Wafi-Golpu project situated between Huon Gulf and Wau-Bulolo districts in Morobe. This large-scale underground mining project is owned by Harmony Gold Mining Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd on a 50/50 shareholding basis;
  • THE US$12 billion (K41.38bil) Papua LNG project to be operated by Total E&P PNG Ltd;
  • THE US$9.2 billion (K31.67bil) P’nyang gas project in Western currently owned by ExxonMobil and Oil Search;
  • PASCA A Petroleum project in Gulf; and,
  • OTHERS such as the Frieda River copper and gold in East and West Sepik and the K420 million Woodlark project in Milne Bay to be operated by GeoPacific Resources Ltd.

Prime Minister James Marape said the Government remained focused on the Wafi-Golpu project and other outstanding resource projects. “We have already issued an environmental permit and we will progress Wafi-Golpu after Porgera is moved,” he said. “In the petroleum space, Pasca has been discussed.  “We thank ExxonMobil for reopening discussions on P’nyang, and we are remobillising for Papua LNG.  “We have been actively in business in the midst of Covid-19 as far as the mining and petroleum sector is concerned.” Marape said the Government welcomed and would work with all investors in the country as they were entitled to a good return on investment however also ensuring that the locals got their fair share from the resources.

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