Mine, gas projects significant to PNG: PM

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THE Wafi-Golpu gold mine and the Papua LNG will bring in more than K100 million into the country during the development phase, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday.
Responding to questions from Markham MP Koni Iguan over concerns raised by Wafi-Golpu landowners and provincial government in relation to the memorandum of understanding signed recently between the State and the developer, O’Neill, pictured, said the two projects were important and had been discussed for many years.
He said with the developers submitting their plan and interest in developing the two projects, the Government has a responsibility to ensure the developers had assurance and confidence of the Government and on the legislations that governed the projects they wanted to develop.
He said the MOU was basically understating of the State in terms of the physical position of the State in regards to issues like tax rates, equity participations in the projects and what was the expectation of the benefits expected by landowners, the provincial government and the State.
“These two projects are significance projects in the country which will begin this year and in total they would bring close to US$26 billion, which is close to K100 billion investment in the country and that will have a significant injection into the economy of our country and would create more jobs.
“And, of course, give more opportunities to the small-to-medium enterprises in the country,” O’Neill said.
“The memorandum of understand we have signed are guides to reach understandings with developers. We anticipate to conclude the Papua LNG by March 31 this year, the deputy prime minister and petroleum minister and ministerial committee to facilitate this LNG project.
“In the first LNG, the Gulf governor and Southern Highlands’ the late Anderson Agiru participated in all discussions and now we also want the Gulf governor to participate in all discussions with developers to reach an agreement everyone is satisfied with, not like the past where the landowners have not been involved and identified.”
O’Neill said in the first LNG project, there were a lot issues yet to be addressed and they did not want to repeat that and had tasked the developer to do the landowner identification process.
“In terms of equity, we anticipate to participate meaningfully in the Papuan LNG project in terms of royalties and domestic market obligations,” O’Neill said.
“For the first time the developer has agreed to make available 10 per cent of gas for domestic market obligation to develop electricity and petrochemical industry in this country, unlike the first LNG project.
“Total is very much showing good social responsibility and the total equity stock in the project is expected to be around 51 per cent for Papua New Guinea — that includes royalties, taxes, and equities.
“We want to bring maximum benefit to our people and we will make sure the Morobe government and the landowners are consulted in every process and participate in equities, but if they want extra equities then they should look at the market price.”
O’Neill said the company would also look at increasing royalties that were above the current rates now in Papua New Guinea and at the national content to be negotiated by mining.