THE Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Programme Ltd (PNGSDP) has partnered with Prime Management Services Ltd (PMSL) to develop the indigenous essential oil industry in Western province.
The agreement was formally announced on Tuesday by the joint partners.
The partners announced a shareholder’s agreement which contracts PMSL CEO Stephen Rose, who used to own Melacare Australia, an agri-business specialised in tee tree cultivation, oil extraction, product development and international marketing, to manage the business.
The joint venture partners have a start up investment of K1 million by PNGSDP and K1.5 million by PMSL.
PNGSDP chief programme officer Camillus Midire said PNGSDP has established a Trust to hold 40% shares in Wari Wari Oil Company (WWO) for resource owners while the business was profitable and stable.
“Besides the 40%, PNGSDP board has also allocated a K1 million grant to support social and economic infrastructure, maintenance and development to support the business.
“Discussions are also being held with PNG Microfinance to extend its banking services to Morehead to handle the volume of cash that are expected to flow into the communities from this project and to provide financial services to the general community,” he said.
Mr Rose said the business was based on harvesting and distilling leaves of the tree Asteromyrtus symphyocarpa (locally known as wariwari oil) to extract the oil.
“It is a native plant that produces high quality oil that can be used for medical, cosmetic and industrial purposes,” he said.
“The WWO is estimated to cover an area of 470,600ha in the South Fly district and the business will concentrate on 20 target villages around the Morehead area, initially harvesting from the wild into the plantation in year two,” Mr Rose said.
It is estimated that 2,000 families will benefit directly from the project through various engagements in the oil industry and about 30 local jobs will be created.
The investment was part of the overall objective of PNGSDP to promote sustainable development and bring about income earning opportunities, especially for the people of Western province after the life of Ok Tedi Mine.
The maiden production is expected in two months time.