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Era of prosperity beckons PNG

THERE can be no understating of the era of prosperity that beckons PNG.
Since 1991, oil and gas investment is estimated to be more than K52 billion, making it the single largest contributor to national economic development.

This year alone, led by the PNG LNG project, the sector has sunk K12 billion and predicts it will spend the same again next year, Oil Search managing director Peter Botten told the Sydney Mining and Petroleum Conference last week.

And it is not only the PNG LNG project managed by ExxonMobil or even the second one proposed by InterOil.

There are new oil and gas projects in the offing with the InterOil LNG development, projects led by Horizon, Talisman, Eaglewood and strong exploration in the Gulf of Papua and throughout the highlands.
There are also very significant projects in the offing in the mining area which will help lay the foundation for growth and prosperity in PNG.

Dr Ila Temu, President of the Chamber of Mining and Petroleum, told the same conference that there was plenty to be excited about in the mining sector as well.
Xstrata has made significant progress on its feasibility study of the Frieda River project and is targeted for completion soon.

This project is touted to be one of the biggest undeveloped copper mine in the region at present and the study should bring the Frieda project closer to a development decision.

Marengo’s Yandera project in Madang is also concluding its feasibility study and a decision is imminent.
The company is doing extensive studies in surrounding areas extending well into parts of Jiwaka region.
The big news in recent months is the Wafi Golpu projects in Morobe province, a joint venture between Newcrest and Harmony Gold.

A feasibility study for Golpu is being planned following a significant resource upgrade this year.
The Ramu nickel cobalt plant in Madang loaded its first shipment last Friday, ending 50 years of proving up the resources and a prolonged legal battle with landowners.

In the mining sector, the following exciting developments have occurred only in the last two years:
qCompletion of the million ounce upgrade to the Lihir gold mine in New Ireland;
qFinal phase of approvals for Ok Tedi mine extension; and extending the mine life of existing projects such as Porgera, Ok Tedi and Lihir through aggressive exploration.

There have also been new entrants into the oil and gas sector including Mitsubishi, Pacific Rubiales, Kina Petroleum and just recently Total reflecting an increased interest in exploration.

Significant upgrades to gas and condensate resources at Stanley, Elevala-Ketu and P’nyang.
New entrants into the mining sector include Rio Tinto Exploration, Vale, St Barbara and Indochine.
In addition, there are a long list of junior and mid-tier explorers which are also spending big kina on exploration.

Some are venturing into mineral sands, platinum, rare earths and coal.
We echo Temu’s words: “PNG is in a good spot right now. The foundation for growth and prosperity is set.
“There is a real opportunity to achieve a level of success that can make a difference to the lives of many ordinary Papua New Guineans.”

The difference is going to be responsible leadership to achieve success.
This does not mean that we let power or the promise of wealth go through leaders’ heads.
PNG’s problem remains: it must manage its wealth responsibly.

Many billions of kina has been produced by Bougainville Copper, by Ok Tedi gold and copper, by Misima mine, by Porgera mine, by Lihir and smaller mines and by Kutubu,
Moran, and Gobe oil and, yet, PNG remains poor and its major social and economic infrastructures are in ruins.

The glittering future that beckons cannot be achieved with more of the old type of mismanagement, corruption and jobs for the boys attitude.

The key to the future lies in responsible management at every level.

If that is not achieved, all these wealth that glitters will just pass over PNG and we will all be sorry.

OP/ED