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PNG Business News - September 13, 2021

Government Improves Economic Management

The government has improved its economic management to ensure that billions in concessional discoveries are brought into the country to help alleviate the country's currency problems. In a recent speech to Parliament, Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey stated. that the government is now attempting to assist businesses in creating a favourable climate. “Businesses have stated that their greatest barrier is a lack of foreign exchange. We are implementing short and longer-term actions, to deal with this issue. “Our better economic management, means we have been able to attract billions, in extremely concessional funding, which has massively lifted our allowed a major clearance of outstanding, foreign exchange orders in the June quarter,” he said. The Treasurer stated that one of the key reasons for the reform of the Central Banking Act is the issue of Forex. “We are supporting new areas of growth, through our economic philosophy focused on the agriculture, fishing, forestry and other non-resource sectors. In agriculture, there are practical actions, such as the K111million to local agriculture activities under the COVID-19 response. “We are working, at reinvigorating commodity boards, supporting the Livestock Development Corporation to grow our cattle industry, including to feed into Ox and Palm production, and supporting the kokonas industry, to shift into white copra and downstream processing of pure coconut oil,” he said. “We are also being innovative and looking at new growth opportunities. This includes strong support for labour mobility programs, which could easily generate more domestic income and net export receipts, than even the PNG LNG project.”   Reference: Post-Courier (9 September 2021). “Govt Aims For Smarter Business Environment”.

Business

PNG Business News - September 13, 2021

Economist: Earn More Forex Through Exports

An economist claimed that earning more foreign cash through exports than imports is a simple strategy to ensure adequate foreign exchange. This was said by Corinna Economic Advisory economist Saul Eslake recently. Agriculture, he noted, was PNG's export strength. “PNG authorities need to manage the economy carefully that is through a monitoring policy on the part of BPNG (Bank of Papua New Guinea) and fiscal policy on the part of the Government,” Eslake said. He said the country should concentrate on its assets in agriculture and the extractive industry, while also investing in human resources to enhance those sectors and focus on surrounding markets. Eslake believed that a mix of long-term strategies that promote the export industry, as well as cautious macroeconomic management, is required to ensure that domestic and import demand are proportional to export income, allowing the country to build up its foreign exchange reserves. He stated that the economy should be carefully developed and that the exchange rate should not be managed rigidly. “Countries that seek to run a fixed exchange rate often find themselves in trouble and having to ration excess foreign exchange where they allow the exchange rate to be misaligned with the country’s underlying fundamentals,” Eslake said.   Reference: The National (8 September 2021). “‘Earn more forex through exports’”

Business

PNG Business News - September 13, 2021

Australia Wishes to Help PNG Government: Saselija

The Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Zed Saselja, stated that Australia wishes to assist the PNG government in addressing its budgetary and economic issues. During a press conference, Saselja stated that Australia has provided US$400 million (K1.3 billion) in loans to PNG's budget priorities over the previous two years. “This is on top of substantial development assistance provided through our bilateral programme,” Saselja said. “We are working to support PNG’s aspirations to lay the foundation for future growth. “PNG faces a significant challenge in providing employment and prosperity for its young and rapidly growing population. “We have heard PNG’s call for quality infrastructure to support development. “There is now a pipeline of projects under the AU$2 billion (about K5 billion) Australian infrastructure financing facility for the Pacific. “These will include investments in electricity, roads and ports.” The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, he noted, posed a difficulty for cross-border businesses. “We have worked with Air Niugini to ensure that commercial flights to Australia never stopped. We have also assisted the PNG government to introduce pre-departure Covid-19 testing at Jackson international airport. “We also worked closely with businesses to support travel exemptions arrangement for workers in the resources sector.” Travel restrictions from Australia to PNG were restored to global settings on August 11, while Covid-19 limitations remain in place.   Reference: The National (8 September 2021). “Aust open to help PNG: Minister”.

Oil and Gas

PNG Business News - September 13, 2021

Kua: Oil Search Merger Must Serve National Interests

Photo Credit: Loop PNG According to Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua, the proposed merger of Oil Search Limited by Santos must be in the best interests of the country. While Kua recognizes the significant contribution Oil Search Limited has made to the country, he believes that a merger will result in the company's identity being lost and subsumed under another new business, which will have ramifications. “The Prime Minister has said that whilst this is a free and open market and because the Oil Search business is based in Papua New Guinea, the Prime Minister has emphasised that Papua New Guinea’s national interest must be factored into the merger arrangements. “Us as ministers we have been instructed to monitor the national interest components and consequences of the merger,” he said. As a result, Kua stated that they will be closely monitoring the merger to ensure that the good culture that has grown and becomes a daily expectation for Papua New Guineans, particularly landowners, is preserved, maintained, and built upon. “There’s nothing we can do about the merger process itself as it is a free market and that’s noble business taking its course but any entity resulting from the merger must always remember the Oil Search culture that has been of considerable benefit to the people of Papua New Guinea. “That contribution that Oil Search use to make must not be lost when you have a new entity from the merger,” he said.   Reference: Yafoi, Melisha. Post-Courier (6 September 2021). “Oil Search Merge Must Serve National Interests, Says Kua”.

Mining

PNG Business News - September 13, 2021

Marape Wants Wafi-Golpu Mine to Begin

Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea has charged the mining ministry, the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), and the State Negotiating Team (SNT) with resolving the Wafi-Golpu project's delay by December. Marape was asked by landowner organisations to speed up the processes and resolve concerns that are delaying the project at a forum hosted by the mining ministry in Mumeng, Bulolo. In September, October, and November, Marape stated, the processes of engaging with landowners, provincial governments, and districts must be completed correctly. “If we can complete the agreements before the end of this year, it is not hard for us,” he said. “When you all agree, the Government can go ahead and give the developer the special mining lease (SML). “We will get the position papers of the landowners, the province, and all stakeholders. “We will look at them and what we can get through negotiations with our investors and we will do our utmost best to take what we can get in our discussion with the company. “Royalty demand, equity demand, business spin-off demands, environmental damage demands, land rate demands, all these are entitled to you and our job as the government is to talk with the investors for all your benefits and bring them to you.” Marape expects that by December, “we should have a conclusion and then we can give the okay to the company to start the mine (project)”. “We will work with the investor to get the headline agreements as soon as possible and we will go through the issues through the forums,” he said.   Reference: Pacific Mining Watch (6 September 2021). “PNG Prime Minister Marape wants Wafi-Golpu mine project started”.

Mining

PNG Business News - September 10, 2021

PNG Government Grants Special Economic Zone status to Central Cement and Lime Project

Photo Credit: Mayur Resources Mayur Resources Limited welcomes the decision, formal notification and provision of a PNG Government Gazette and License from the Independent State of Papua New Guinea’s Special Economic Zones Authority Board (SEZAB), granting Mayur’s Central Cement and Lime project area SEZ status, in accordance with the SEZA 2019. Managing Director Paul Mulder said “I greatly appreciate the leadership of the PNG Prime Minister & Minister for Bougainville Affairs & Defence, Hon. James Marape, in the establishment of this SEZ, as it sets the right conditions for large scale investment to thrive and catalyse down-stream processing in the SEZ that will particularly benefit the people and the manufacturing industry in PNG.” The SEZ license covers the same area as the Mining Lease already granted for the CCL Project, located across Kido and Rea Rea. The SEZ provides Mayur with a range of benefits that includes; income tax relief, import tariff exemptions and associated concessions in accord with the SEZA 2019, that was approved by the National Executive Council (PNG Cabinet). Such benefits in the SEZ zone (to be on foot for a nominal 10-year period) has been set up to attract international investors to co invest alongside existing Mayur investors and to give landowners exposure to future wealth creation opportunities on their land; where the SEZ also caters for all forms of power generation, agriculture, land redevelopment and any other downstream vertically integrated manufacturing. These concessions and benefits to be received from SEZ status are significant and strengthens the financial outcomes of the project and the other associated activities that Mayur, Landowners and the Provincial Government’s business arms choose to partner on. With over US$10bn slated to be spent in establishing the adjacent Papua LNG Project (alongside the already operating US$18bn PNG LNG facility), the area is set to dramatically expand and become a very attractive investment destination. This SEZ status is consistent with ‘down-stream value-add industry establishment concessions’ that the PNG government is strongly promoting and has provided to investors in the past. Of note is the PNG Governments call for downstream, vertically integrated, value add, import displacement and export generating industries to be established in PNG. Mayur has risen to the challenge and has been accordingly recognised for such ongoing commitment and investment in PNG (since 2011). We continue to exclusively invest in PNG and thank the PNG State-Provincial Governments, Landowners & Customers for their vision and support.” Mr Mulder said. “Our other Stakeholders are also at the centre of what and how we conduct business, and I am excited and humbled by the show of support for the project culminating in the granting of the SEZ status. This is a great endorsement for the project, I am sure this will give our existing and new investors the confidence required and will also contribute to a range of nation building community infrastructure and services initiatives associated with the project. Above all, this underpins the creation of a new value add down-stream processing industry and new real long-term jobs for PNG.” In the wake of the SEZ announcement, Managing Director, Mr Mulder, said the status approval was a critical next step to realising further value for the CCL project as a key piece in Mayur Resources diversified portfolio. “We are pleased that the PNG government recognises the high economic importance to be competitive in the region and the opportunity that this SEZ presents to the country and a multitude of PNG stakeholders. The announcement today is an important value add foothold in CCL’s Project development and is just one of many opportunities for this SEZ and places PNG into the regional mix of being a competitive cement and lime production jurisdiction.” Mr Mulder said. Thirty subject areas of required information pertaining to economic benefits for PNG were listed for the application. Mayur’s overall strategy is to leverage its access to domestic in country raw materials and help PNG add value to its natural resource’s wealth, whilst providing nation-building opportunities though vertical integration, thus, maximising the other attributes of PNG; namely competitive labour, access to competitive off grid energy, close proximity to in country and international markets and superior far shorter supply chain logistics solutions. Chairman Varigini Badira of the SEZAB said “The Mayur proposal was of a very high standard and the Board was unanimous in its support of the project being granted SEZ status. We saw this project as a great new industry opportunity for our country to not only replace imports but also build a new strong export industry that many future generations can benefit from with circa 1800 construction jobs, 360 initial direct jobs (not factoring direct subcontractors and support services). An independent assessment by FTI Consulting forecast an indirect multiplier of +10,000 jobs in regional down-stream employment as the facility ramps up to its full productive potential. Frankly speaking, PNG needs many projects like Mayur’s Central Cement & Lime project to help kick start, but importantly maintain its GDP growth, in the face of its very low base and the impacts of Covid”. Governor of Central Province of PNG Hon. Robert Agarobe MP stated “The project now enhanced with SEZ status, will enable future generations of Central Province people to create wealth for themselves, through their involvement in a number of down-stream vertically integrated manufacturing products (for both domestic and export markets). I’m excited about the prospect of people in Central Province learning new skills, empowering themselves and having a combined sense of purpose that comes from meaningful long-term employment. We have huge opportunity in Central Province and I have supported this SEZ initiative from the very beginning and recognise we need to kickstart all sorts of development for our people’s employment and not just rely on the few mega projects that have many years of development before creating meaningful employment. Mayur Resources have stayed the course, have committed themselves, their investment and partnering approach with Government and the Customary Landowners of Central Province. I know this will be a positive outcome for them with very attractive benefits from this SEZ status and we have committed to work with them to maximise the value that can be extracted from such status provision, so that all involved in this new, but critically needed initiative for PNG, are benefactors.”   Article Courtesy of Mayur Resources

Oil and Gas

PNG Business News - September 09, 2021

‘Re-engagement on P’nyang, very positive for PNG’ - Smaré

President of the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Anthony Smaré, has applauded the Marape-Basil government, Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua, ExxonMobil PNG, and their joint venture partners for agreeing to reengage in negotiations on the P’nyang project in Western Province. Mr. Smaré said “In light of the extremely challenging economic conditions in PNG, the P’nyang and Papua LNG projects, are projects that are desperately needed to be kick-started to kick-start the country’s stagnant economy creating jobs, bringing in foreign exchange and providing opportunities for PNG businesses, particularly SMEs in the impacted areas”. “I congratulate the Prime Minister, Minister Kua, the SNT and Exxon Mobil and its partners for restarting these negotiations, and strongly encourage them to secure a win-win outcome that sees the progress of the P’nyang project in the near term, and in turn helping PNG and our people.” In making the announcement of re-engaging in negotiations on P’nyang, on August 20###sup/sup###, Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua highlighted the economic importance of these two projects alone. “The benefits of phasing the construction of both Papua and P’nyang projects over an eight-year period shall be a substantial boost to the economy and the country. “This tremendous investment would extend our gas pipeline infrastructure into the country’s Western Province and have a meaningful and lasting economic impact for Papua New Guinea and its people,” Minister Kua said. He also announced that there would be a series of workshops regarding the development of the P’nyang Gas Fields, and if these continued unhindered, an expected signing of a P’nyang Heads of Agreement could be expected by end of this month, with a Gas Agreement to follow. “While there continues to be misinformation on the true impact of resource projects in the country, the government remains fully aware that projects which remain in the pipeline, will not be able to effect much financial benefit, until they are negotiated and commissioned. “This announcement by government of re-engaging with ExxonMobil PNG and its joint venture partners on the P’nyang project, is an extremely positive step in the right direction,” Mr. Smaré said.   Article Courtesy of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum 

Business

PNG Business News - September 09, 2021

Sovereign Wealth Fund important as government savings for PNG’s economic future

The Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum is encouraged by Prime Minister James Marape’s recent announcement of a clear policy on the payment of dividends from resource projects through to a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). Prime Minister Marape made the announcement upon receiving a K100 million dividend payment from Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd (KPHL) on August 18. President of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Anthony Smaré, said this was a good sign of the government’s commitment to ensuring economic returns from resource sector projects are rightfully accounted for, and properly invested and managed for the long term. “The resource sector contributes approximately 28 percent annually to the PNG economy. While this has a massive indirect multiplier effect in the form of employment, crucial infrastructure and education and health support. There is still a misinformed opinion as to how the real economic returns of the sector are being recorded, and correctly valued. “The establishment of a sovereign wealth fund with strong and transparent management processes will ensure that these direct economic returns from our resources are adequately captured and managed for the long term, and be used for development, right down to people in our districts and communities,” Mr. Smaré said.   Mr Smaré, the former long-serving Chairman of Nambawan Super, said from his experience  “The growth of the country’s superfunds like Nambawan Super and Nasfund from mere hundreds of millions, to over K15 billion in 20 years for the benefit of millions of superfund members and their families, demonstrates the value of putting away money for the long term to support you in times of need, and the country can do this for itself by saving and investing a significant portion of its resource revenues in the SWF for the future.   “The legislation for an SWF has been existence for over a decade, but the political will has previously been lacking.  However, the Prime Minister’s commitment is a very important step in the right direction and this important statement by Prime Minister Marape should be recognized and applauded.” He acknowledged Prime Minister Marape’s observations that the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund has been effected in law, but this is the first time a government has shown its determination to have the SWF set up to ensure a saving’s culture for the government, through its resources revenue. “The resource sector has always been a willing party in the setting up of a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the country. And I am sure the resource sector, as well as the entire business community, will work closely with government to ensure this is achieved in a timely and proactive manner,” Mr. Smaré said.   Article Courtesy of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum 

Business

PNG Business News - September 09, 2021

PM MARAPE OUTLINES MAJOR RESOURCE PROJECTS OF HIS GOVERNMENT

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has outlined the six major resource projects his Government is focused on. They are the Papua LNG Project, New Porgera Mine, Wafi-Golpu Mine, P’nyang LNG, Pasca LNG and Pandora LNG. PM Marape announced this today when responding to the Ministerial Statement by Treasurer Hon. Ian Ling-Stuckey on the ‘2020 Final Budget Outcomes (FBO) and 2021 Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Outlook (MYEFO) and the Way Forward’. He said this was more than the previous O’Neill regime which had only the Papua LNG Project to its name. “Mr O’Neill, in eight years, delivered only the Papua LNG Project,” PM Marape said. “We are working very hard, and in just two years, we are discussing Papua to ensure that it takes off, Wafi-Golpu, New Porgera, Pandora, Pasca and P’nyang. “These big five projects apart from Papua LNG project, remain our focus, but more importantly in the medium term going forward to ensure our economy is strong.” PM Marape said the difference between his Government and O’Neill’s was that his Government was for a better deal for Papua New Guinea on all these projects. He said the Papua LNG Project was not one that was supposed to have begun right away as the Opposition was claiming. “The Papua LNG Project was not supposed to have been constructed in 2019 or 2020,” PM Marape said. “It would have to go into pre-FEED (front end engineering and design), then FEED, and then FID (final investment decision). “They (Opposition) are making it (Papua LNG Project) as if it was going to be a miracle that would have brought money into the country in 2019 or 2020.” PM Marape said the Papua LNG Project was going into FEED in 2022, an FID by 2023, and construction to start in 2024 or 2025. “I appreciate what the Petroleum Minister, Hon. Kerenga Kua, is doing now by trying to squeeze a little more in the area of local content, so that we get a bit more on top of what was already signed,” he said. “I thank the former government, which left our gain at 51 per cent.” PM Marape said his Government was pushing for more than 50 per cent stake in P’nyang, Pasca, Pandora and any other new LNG projects. He said this was the same at mining projects. “We’re trying to push for a gain at Wafi-Golpu and Porgera with a return of above 55 per cent,” PM Marape said. “We will not come below 52 per cent.” The Prime Minister said at Porgera, his Government had settled for 53 per cent over the long term, with the first five years being 65 per cent. “This is what we are doing, making the hard decisions,” he said. “We have to make these tough calls to ensure that we anchor our economy correctly, not just for today but for the next generation. “The more we collect today contributes to a better Budget three, four, five, six years down the line.”

Business

PNG Business News - September 07, 2021

Governor Numu officially opens lower highlands consultation

Governor for Eastern Highlands Province Hon Peter Numu has given his full support for the establishment of the Extractive Industries Transparency Commission.  Governor Numu opened the lower Highlands Consultation workshop on the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Commission Bill in Goroka on Monday, September 6th, 2021. He welcomed the State legal and policy officials from key government departments, Department of Petroleum and Energy, Department of Treasury, Constitutional and Law Reform Commission, National Economic and Fiscal Commission, Internal Revenue Commission, including Provincial administration key representatives from Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, and the PNGEITI staff who gathered in Goroka for the week-long consultation. “As the Governor of Eastern Highlands Province, I am in support of transparency and accountability in the extractive sector. “The government must be accountable and it must make sure the developer is transparent in the extraction of our natural resources,” he said.  “Our government recognises the need to have transparency and visibility of revenue received from the extractive projects and other sectors in the country particularly in our province. “We also acknowledge the importance of having factual data from the sector to ensure we are able to make informed decisions in the governance of the sector. He added that Eastern Highlands Province contributes significantly to the economy of the country through coffee production and exports. The province is a major coffee producer and from coffee exports revenue is generated for the country, while local farmers benefit directly from selling their coffee produce. “The province also hosts the K92 Mine located in the Kainantu District, that started four years ago. The company K92 Mine Ltd paid K25 million to the government last year, given the tough economic times and is looking at a promising future for the province,” he said. “Our government also recognises the importance of supporting the work of the PNGEITI in transitioning to an independent entity as proposed ‘Commission’ to fully implement the EITI requirements and best practice Standards that PNG has signed up to implement for our benefit. “We look forward to providing our comments and views on the proposed PNGEITI Commission Law and work in close consultation with the PNGEITI as it promotes good governance, accountability and transparency in the resources sector. He acknowledged the National Secretariat’s leadership and the government agencies for their participation and contribution to drafting of the Commission law and the consultation process and reiterated that consultation is the way forward as it captures our people’s views in framing this important legislative requirement.

Mining

PNG Business News - September 06, 2021

Marape Assures Wafi-Golpu Landowners of 'Best Benefits'

Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea has told landowners and others participating in the Wafi-Golpu Mine project in Morobe that they will receive the best possible deal. He said that the project had been delayed for years due to the parties' inability to reach an agreement on problems that would allow mining to begin. In Mumeng, Bulolo, he recently visited a Wafi-Golpu Mine pre-development forum. The parameters would be discussed with the developer, landowners, and other stakeholders, according to Marape. “Let’s all discuss the best outcome for us,” Marape said. “The Mining department has been compiling reports from all stakeholders. “And when instruments are signed for the project, it will happen the way everyone wanted. “Decisions for the mine will come out from an open, transparent discussion.” The developers Newcrest and Harmony were informed by Marape that the government is ready to hand over the special mining lease (SML) and is waiting for them to respond to the paperwork they were handed. Johnson Tuke, the Minister of Mines, stated that the government was committed to completing the project. “I’m ready to sign to start this project which will bring in a huge economic value to the country,” Tuke said. Deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil stated that he was 100% dedicated to seeing the mine open for business.   Reference: Pacific Mining Watch (2 September 2021). “You will get the best benefits, PNG PM Marape tells Wafi-Golpu Mine Project landowners.” 

Company

PNG Business News - September 06, 2021

Steamships Makes Profit of K33 Million in H1 2021

Photo Credit: Gartshore The unaudited net profit of Steamships Trading for the half-year ending June 2021 was K33.1 million, up 106% over the previous equivalent period, according to the company. Steamships, on the other hand, claimed in its half-year report that after adjustment for major factors, the underlying profit credited to shareholders was K24.7 million, up 48% from the same period in 2020. “The period’s results are impacted by the global Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the re-introduction of many restrictions in March 2021 which continue to impede operating activity for businesses in PNG,” the report said. “The underlying economy remained weak. “The closure of the Porgera gold mine, and uncertainty over progress on their other major new resource projects, continues to be a drag on the economy. “Steamships’ results have been relatively resilient as its businesses adapt to the tough new environment.” When compared to the same period last year, revenue from regular operations climbed 11.1 per cent to K290.9 million. Despite a modest recovery in demand and a slight increase in underlying profit, cost-cutting measures implemented across all businesses in 2020 are still in place. Consort Express Lines, the company's logistics division, continued to expand its capabilities in order to provide better client service.   Reference: The National (1 September 2021). “Steamships records K33mil profit for first half of 2021”.

Business

PNG Business News - September 06, 2021

‘Economy Would Rebound Later This Year’

According to Steamships Trading Company Ltd, the national economy would rebound later this year and beyond 2022. In its half-year report for the fiscal year 2021, the corporation indicated that recent government announcements on key resource development projects were encouraging. The group's Coral Sea Hotels had a strong start to the year, aided by the quarantine requirement for visitors to PNG. “The Ela Beach Hotel food and beverage offering improved considerably with a new restaurant, bar and takeaway outlets which opened early this year,” the company said. “Cost management remained a key focus. “Demand is currently stable but any relaxation of quarantine requirements will have a negative impact on second-half performance. “Steamships is adapting to meet the changing demand in the economy and positioning its businesses for a medium-term economic recovery.” In the meantime, the group successfully secured the renewal of a portion of its existing funding arrangements with a major bank in PNG. “Also, after the period ended, Steamships agreed to sell its wholly-owned subsidiary, Croesus Holdings Ltd, an indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary, Croesus Re PCC Ltd, both incorporated in the Isle of Man, to its majority shareholder John Swire & Sons Ltd at net book value. “The valuation was supported by an independent accounting expert. “The transaction was recommended by a sub-committee of the independent directors of the Steamships board and approved by the Steamships board. “Completion of the transaction remains subject to approval from the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority.”   Reference: The National (1 September 2021). “‘Economy to recover this year’

Business

PNG Business News - September 06, 2021

Council: Businesses Have Spent Close to a Million Kina on COVID-19

According to a poll conducted by the Business Council of PNG, businesses have spent close to a million kina on COVID-19 protective equipment and facilities to protect their employees and operations. According to the findings of their COVID-19 vaccination for a business survey, 70 per cent of the cost was spent on face masks and sanitisers, 21 per cent on testing kits, and 11 per cent on building their own COVID-19 facilities and clinics, according to Business Council Executive Director Douveri Henao. Businesses have spent more than K70, 000 on facemasks and hand sanitisers, and more than K136, 000 on testing kits and ventilators, according to Henao. According to him, some companies have invested between K50, 000 and K9.5 million to put up an in-house clinic or medical centre for their staff. Henao also pointed out that whereas only 19 enterprises had medical insurance coverage for their employees on COVID-19 in 2020, that number has now risen to 64 per cent. “From the findings, sensitive value chains need to be COVID-19 free. The Business Council is not forcing anyone to be vaccinated as it is their right… and with the hesitancy, businesses have now been able to absorb that cost. Businesses are continuing to adjust to these changes and have made these big expenditures with the hope that the vaccinations will rebalance the cost,” he said.   Reference: Yafoi, Melisha. Post-Courier (2 September 2021). “Businesses Have Spent Close A K1m For COVID-19”. 

Company

PNG Business News - September 06, 2021

Newcrest Posts K4.07B Profit

Newcrest Mining, Papua New Guinea's largest gold miner, has posted a profit of K4.07 billion (US$1.164 billion) for the 12 months ending 30 June, a new high. Due to greater gold and copper prices as well as decreased operating costs, this is 55 per cent higher than the previous financial year. Newcrest's gold revenue increased by 9% despite somewhat lower gold production, while its copper revenue increased by 46% and its silver revenue increased by 63%. However, its operating costs decreased by 11%. “Newcrest has delivered a strong operational and financial performance for the 2021 financial year, producing 2.1 million ounces of gold at an AISC [All-In Sustaining Cost] of US$911 per ounce. “Together with the benefit of higher gold and copper prices, this translated into a record statutory and underlying profit of US$1.2 billion and a record free cash flow of US$1.1 billion,’ said Newcrest’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Biswas.  The company's shareholders will benefit from the windfall, with a payout per share of US$0.40 (K1.40) — a 129 per cent increase over last year's dividend. During this time, Newcrest's gold mine on Lihir Island in New Ireland Province produced 737,000 ounces of gold and 38,000 ounces of silver, accounting for about 35% of the PNGX and ASX-listed company's global production for the year. The mine brought in US$1.425 billion (K5.02 billion) in sales, accounting for around 31% of the company's total revenue for the year. While the firm claims incidences of COVID-19 on Lihir Island are at "low levels," it is maintaining "extensive contact tracing and isolation protocols," and charter flights to the island are limited.   Reference: Pacific Mining Watch (31 August 2021). “Newcrest Records K4.07 Billion in Profit”.

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