By SHEILA LASIBORI
THE Melanesian Trustee Service Ltd (MTSL), which has become the latest gold and silver refinery in Papua New Guinea, will try to take advantage of a law requiring that 10% of gold mined here be processed locally.
MTSL became a gold refiner after it recently bought out gold refiner Metals Refinery Operations (MRO) Ltd based in Port Moresby.
MRO is the only precious metal refinery in the Pacific region which has refining capacity of 250,000ozt per month of gold and 500,000ozt of silver per month.
MRO can deliver gold purity of more than 99.99-99.999% and silver purity of 99.99-99.99+.
With such a big processing capacity for gold and silver, MTSL would be looking for more raw precious metals to feed into their refining facility, chief executive Kennedy Wemin said, adding that is the goal they have to achieve.
“We will be looking around and talking to people and stakeholders to see how best we can make to fruition the legislation that sets that 10% of all gold mined in the country should be processed locally,” Mr Wemin said.
“So we would like to really try and work hard on that and get the Government and to actually allow us to be able to do that … that is, I think one of the big goals in going forward”.
Mr Wemin made these remarks soon after MTSL acquired MRO last Jan 15.
“The refinery is now 100% PNG-owned … basically, it’s now us, the management and the board to sit down and set out a new business plan and new path for MRO,” he said.
As of Jan 15, MRO ownership was transferred to Melanesian Metals Corp (MMC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pacific Balance Fund.
This was done through the purchase of the 45% shareholding in MRO held by Australian Gold Refineris-Mathey joint venture (AGRM).
The documentation to the transaction was signed by AGRM managing director and MTSL executive chairman and was witnessed by MRO lawyer Harvey Maladina and Mr Wemin.
MRO is currently being leased monthly to Malaysia’s Bestino Golden House (PMG) Ltd
Addressing MTSL members, Mr Wemin said: “There is obviously a sizeable increase in the portfolio because of the acquisition.
“It will also mean that we have greater and full control of MRO and it is now 100%-owned by the fund and not like other investments where were own part and collect dividend monthly.”
MRO has the capacity to refine all the gold produced by major mining companies in the country, inclusive of alluvial gold production and the production from surrounding alluvial mines and gold mines in the region.