Thursday, December 06, 2012

PNG conference makes the right noises

by Mike Foley

Papua New Guinea’s developing resources sector was on show in Sydney this week, with a record 1,400 delegates rolling up to the biennial PNG Mining and Investment conference.
PNG conference makes the right noises
Prime Minister O'Neill.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill outlined impending reforms, with legislation to halve the current size of exploration leases and a limit of 10 exploration licences for individual entities.
However, Prime Minister O’Neill, stressing he would work in consultation with resources companies, said he was receptive to the sector’s needs, citing his corporate background.
“The undertaking I give you today is simply there will be no drastic or radical change to laws that exist today and there will be no immediate change.
“We will set up an independent panel to review the concerns that have been already expressed and the resource sector will be fully consulted in this process. We must get the balance right and we will only get it right through consultation and negotiation.”
Prime Minister O’Neill said LNG projects delivering domestic gas supply would be fast-tracked and encouraged resources companies to seek local partners for downstream services.
“We need projects totally focused on our domestic gas and energy needs, including gas capable of driving our rural and regional energy requirements and meeting the energy needs of the new projects that are now about to be developed.
“The challenge I want to issue you today to our investors and those who are thinking of investing in our country is to look at taking on board Papua New Guinean investors and partners from the outset. [PNG] has a rapidly growing number of companies and individuals who have been very successful in their business lives.”
Ok Tedi Mining, which delivers around 15% of the PNG Government’s revenue, said it had secured permission to extend the mine’s life. It told the conference it has signed agreement with seven out of nine landowner groups.
Xstrata’s Frieda River mine told delegates it plans to deliver a feasibility study by the end of the year.
The Conference was packed with presentations from exploration companies plying their wares. Gold and copper plays, the mainstay of PNG mining, dominated proceedings. Marengo Mining, Morobe Mining, Kula Gold, PNG Gold Corp, Gold Anomaly, Highlands Pacific and Harmony Gold all took to the podium.
Outside the gold and copper compendium, presenters included coal explorer Waterford, nickel hopefuls Suckling Resources and Niugini Nickel, polymetallic juniors Goldminex and Quintessential Resources and iron sands pioneer Foyson Resources.

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