Mining boom

Main Stories, National

The National, Wednesday 09th November 2011

THE mining and petroleum industryis the biggest employer in Papua New Guinea in the past six years.
The industry came close to doubling its workforce from 18,000 to 30,000 between 2003 and 2010.These figures were disclosed byMichael Uiari, the Oil Search general manager in PNG in charge of commercial,
legal and stakeholder management. He was speaking last Friday to journalists in Port Moresby about the industry’s benefit to PNG’s economy. The main projects in the pipeline are the PNG LNG project, Yandera, Ramu nickel, Wafi Golpu, Frieda River and Gulf LNG. There are a number of grass roots exploration projects in both mining and petroleum also employing a lot of workers in the fields. Projects commissioned into production during this period are Simberi and Hidden Valley mines. Uiari said a growing number were
hired in the exploration phases, smallscale alluvial mines and contractors and joint ventures being set up.
He said the industry was an integrated industry made up of exploration, evaluation, development and production, using a wide range of services and support industries, indirectly giving jobs to more people. They were mainly employed by aviation, drilling and drilling suppliers, seismic contractors, analytical laboratories and technical services of all types.
Others were involved in expediting and logistics, earthmoving and trucking sales and contractors, shipping of all types, port services, supply of motor vehicles and tyres, wholesaling and retailing of fuel, general merchandise, white goods, equipment, tools, food supplies and catering, maintenance and servicing contractors of all types, accounting, legal, engineering, surveying and other professional services, provision of accommodation including hotels, office and private rental residences, technical and vocational training and security.
“These groups benefit because our industry consumes goods and services from every aspect of our economy,” Uiari said.
The PNG LNG project alone currently employs 6,600 local workers compared to a maximum of 3500 projected before construction.
At the peak of construction in the second half of next year, total employment is expected to jump to 15,000 people – local and foreign combined.
The economy is expected to grow by a “low double-digit” this year which is expected to translate to significant increases in employment in contrast to 2009 when the economy grew by only 4.5% due mainly to the global financial crisis.
Uiari said the financial and other benefits provided by the resource projects were diverse and substantial including employment, royalty via the state, taxes, dividends, tax credit schemes, education and training, business and agricultural development, health programmes and services, community facilities and other infrastructure.
He said an estimated K1.47 billion in taxes was paid to the government last year.
Uiari said royalties alone during the past five years had totalled K1.1 billion calculated at the rate of 2% each from the mining and the petroleum sectors.