By GYNNIE KERO
AFTER 15 years in charge of the country’s multi-billion kina minerals, oil and gas industries, Peter Graham has called it quits to return home to Australia.
Graham, the chairman and acting managing director of the Kumul Minerals Holdings Limited (KMHL) and former managing director of Ok Tedi Mining Limited and ExxonMobil PNG, tendered his resignation last week to Prime Minister James Marape.
“I have now been away from my home almost continuously for 27 years – 12 years in the US and 15 years in PNG. It’s simply time for me to go home,” he told The National.
“When I finished at Ok Tedi at the end of May 2020, I made a personal commitment to Prime Minister James Marape to work at Kumul Minerals as chairman and acting managing director for six months to November 2020.”
“I have confirmed my intention to retire and return to Australia after an enjoyable and challenging 15 years in PNG, firstly on the PNG LNG for almost 10 years, then five years at Ok Tedi, and now six months at Kumul Minerals.”
Graham, a chemical engineer, described his 15 years in PNG as “enjoyable and challenging”.
Marape said he had expected Graham’s resignation but he described its timing as “unfortunate” because it came just when the new KMHL board was being named.
Graham’s resignation letter was leaked on social media on Friday before Marape even received it.
“I have not got Graham’s letter formally yet, however, it’s unfortunate that a letter he circulated to two former directors of KMHL got circulated in public space,” Marape said.
“But (he had) told me six months ago when he took office that he would resign in November.
“So I was already expecting his resignation. It’s unfortunate that his letter may be taken out of context with Government filling in new board members of KMHL.”
Vice-minister Manasseh Makiba who is assisting the prime minister on KMHL said it was unfortunate to learn of Graham’s resignation on social media first.
Graham was appointed chairman of KMHL (Petromin PNG Holdings Ltd) in 2016 by then prime minister Peter O’Neill.
He was managing director of ExxonMobil PNG and delivered the country’s first US$19 billion (K65.41bil) PNG LNG project.
He later became the managing director of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd.
“I will continue to provide support as needed to the SNT (state negotiating team) in negotiations with Barrick (Niugini Ltd) on the Porgera (mine) until my departure,” he said.
The new KMHL board consists of Graham, Dr John Kuwimb, Aho Baliki, Bonny Ninai, Marjella Meles, Hansel Maven and Nelly James.
By GYNNIE KERO