Firms query reopening


SOME businesses affected by the closure of the Porgera mine are becoming skeptical about the Government’s announcements on its re-opening, an official says.
Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rio Fiocco said the most recent announcement was that it would be reopened next April.
“Some businesses here in Port Moresby are still being impacted by the closure of the Porgera gold mine,” Fiocco told The National.
“(The Government) said it would be reopened this year and now (it) is saying it’s going to be next year.
“Most business houses are skeptical (about) these government announcements because we were told the exact same thing in the previous year’s budgets, and it didn’t happen.
“A lot of business are taking the approach: We will believe it when we see it.”
Fiocco said banks and finance companies had lent money to people working at the mine, and contractors to the mine – road contractors, companies that supply food and medical services to the mine employees.
“Some indirectly and directly had the impact, although not a lot in Port Moresby, certainly in the case of businesses in Enga and Western Highlands.
“They are still being affected by the closure of the mine because there is less people employed there and therefore there’s less money circulating in the local economy,” he said.
Fiocco said just as businesses in the highlands had been affected by the mine closure, some businesses in Port Moresby had also been affected.
Barrick Niugini Ltd (47.5 per cent) and Zijin Mining (47.5 per cent) are the joint venture partners in the mine.
It closed last year after the Government refused to renew the special mining lease to Barrick in April.
Prime Minister James Marape told The National this month that the Government planned to reopen the mine next April and that work involved were in progress.