29 Nov 2021

The opening address of PNG Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, at the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum conference on December 1st and 2nd this week, is expected to spark public debate on the continuing role and prospects for petroleum and mining companies in Papua New Guinea.

The Prime Minister’s address on the Conference theme, “Resource Industry – Making it Work for PNG”, comes at a challenging time following last year’s sharp K6 billion fall in export revenues from the sector, which has experienced solid growth since exports commenced in 2014 from the PNG LNG Project.

According to statistics released by the Bank of Papua New Guinea, mining and petroleum exports last year fell from K32.5 billion in 2019 to K25.8 billion, because of a fall in LNG prices and the shutdown of the Porgera mine.

The 2022 PNG National Budget incorporates a bullish view on recovery in mining and petroleum exports, and it is expected that the Prime Minister will outline his plans to stimulate such recovery.

Australia’s view on the prospects for PNG’s resources sector, which since 2014 has overtaken agriculture as the largest segment of the economy, will be addressed by the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Hon. Zed Seslja.

“We are hopeful that discussions sparked by this conference will lead to a renewal of interest in exploration and development activities in PNG in the coming years,” commented Mr. Anthony Smaré, President of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

He said: “Current large projects such as the PNG LNG Project, Ok Tedi and Lihir continue to perform well despite difficulties created by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have also seen solid contributions from other projects such as Hidden Valley and Kainantu gold mines.” 

“Although petroleum and mining exploration activity has fallen sharply in recent years with no current sign of an upturn, I am confident the coming conference will spark additional interest in the resources sector because of the sterling performance of PNG-based operations.”

Executives from mining and petroleum corporations attending the conference, held at the Brisbane Hilton Hotel, and virtually from the Port Moresby Hilton due to Covid-19 pandemic measures, will also be interested in future policies that impact on PNG’s investment attractiveness and future exploration trends.

These concerns will be addressed on December 2 by the Minister for Mining, Hon. Johnson Tuke, in his, “Policy Update of PNG Mineral Sector”.

A similar update will be provided by the Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Hon. Kerenga Kua.

Mr. Smaré said presentations by industry leaders on current petroleum and mining operations could bolster confidence about future activities.

The program of speakers includes representatives of Newcrest, Ok Tedi Mining Limited, Harmony Gold, Ramu Nico, K92, ExxonMobil PNG and Santos, speaking on their outlook for 2022 and beyond in relation to their projects in PNG.

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