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Agriculture

PNG Business News - January 17, 2022

Vanilla Is The Most Popular Spice In The Country

Photo credit: Slofoodgroup In terms of production volume, vanilla is the most popular spice in the country, with 520,000 kg produced annually. In terms of market trends, the price of vanilla would rise by 5% in the next five years, according to PNG Spice Industry Board chief executive officer Nelson Simbiken. “In terms of production and volume, vanilla is a lot more than other spices such as cardamom, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, citronella and nutmeg. “In terms of the demand, for specific spices like vanilla, new countries are consuming vanilla as part of their beverages and ice cream.” Simbiken said demand from China and Brazil was increasing. “East Sepik and West Sepik are the leading vanilla producers in the country,” he said. “The vanilla town of the country right now is Maprik. That is the major trade centre where vanilla is brought from all over the country. “Most of the buyers are from Maprik. “They travel to other provinces and buy, bring it back and start trading within Maprik and eventually they pack them there and export it. “For vanilla, one kilogram with good quality and the current local price is K200, K270 or K300 per kg. “That’s big money.”   Reference: The National (11 January 2022). “Vanilla leads in spice production”. 

Agriculture

PNG Business News - January 17, 2022

Spice Industry Exports Over K1.3bil of Product in Last Four Years

According to Spice Sector Board Chief Executive Officer Nelson Simbiken, the country's spice industry has exported K1.3 billion worth of products in the last four years. According to Simbiken, K400 million worth of items were shipped in 2021, much above the norm of over K300 million. “From 2019 to now, revenue from export we have from Customs and National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority ( (showed that) the industry has exported K1.3 billion,” he said. “On an annual basis, spice industry has been exporting over K300 million on an annual basis. “In 2019, the spice industry exported over K500 million, in 2020 K600 million, in 2021 over K400 million,” Simbiken said the spice industry was picking up after being slow for some years. “At the moment, it's dead,” he said. “We are resurrecting it to make it grow. The significance of that is that with one kilogram of spice, you’ll get 100 times the value in terms of money than the similar amount of commodities like cocoa and coffee. “For example one kilogramme of coffee, raw beans, you get K7, or, for parchment, it’s about K4. “For cocoa, one kilogramme is about K6 to K7. But for spice, the raw product, especially vanilla, with one kilogram is about K200. “So most of the farmers for other crops work hard to get 60kg of cocoa bean and wait for transport to bring it to town. But for vanilla, you get about 10kg, put them in your bag and come in and get higher value compared other commodities.”   Reference: The National (11 January 2022). “Spice board: K1.3bil worth of product exported in last 4 years”. According to Spice Sector Board Chief Executive Officer Nelson Simbiken, the country's spice industry has exported K1.3 billion worth of products in the last four years. According to Simbiken, K400 million worth of items were shipped in 2021, much above the norm of over K300 million. “From 2019 to now, revenue from export we have from Customs and National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority ( (showed that) the industry has exported K1.3 billion,” he said. “On an annual basis, spice industry has been exporting over K300 million on an annual basis. “In 2019, the spice industry exported over K500 million, in 2020 K600 million, in 2021 over K400 million,” Simbiken said the spice industry was picking up after being slow for some years. “At the moment, it's dead,” he said. “We are resurrecting it to make it grow. The significance of that is that with one kilogram of spice, you’ll get 100 times the value in terms of money than the similar amount of commodities like cocoa and coffee. “For example one kilogramme of coffee, raw beans, you get K7, or, for parchment, it’s about K4. “For cocoa, one kilogramme is about K6 to K7. But for spice, the raw product, especially vanilla, with one kilogram is about K200. “So most of the farmers for other crops work hard to get 60kg of cocoa bean and wait for transport to bring it to town. But for vanilla, you get about 10kg, put them in your bag and come in and get higher value compared other commodities.”   Reference: The National (11 January 2022). “Spice board: K1.3bil worth of product exported in last 4 years”.

Business

PNG Business News - January 12, 2022

Mayur’s forest carbon concessions granted paving pathway to “net zero” projects and opportunity to provide high quality carbon credits for global carbon markets

Photo credit: Mayur Resources - Project Locations Mayur Resources Limited (ASX:MRL), via its 100% owned subsidiary Mayur Renewables PNG Limited (MR), has been granted its first forest carbon concessions in PNG, demonstrating material progress on its commitment to achieve “net zero” carbon emissions for its nation building import displacement projects, and delivering on the objectives of its strategic review completed in October 2021.  The carbon credits from the forest concessions will provide Mayur with a tangible path to “net zero” for its projects by partnering with PNG Landowners and the PNG Government, whilst also enabling participation in international carbon trading markets. Key deliverables that have been achieved culminating in the grant of the forest concessions include:  Signing of a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with the Papua New Guinea Forest Authority (PNGFA) and Landowner Consents  Appointment of PNG’s leading carbon credit expert Professor Chalapan Kaluwin, Director of Centre the Climate Change & Sustainable Development, School of Natural and Physical Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea to MR’s Advisory Board  Endorsement of a position paper (prior to Glasgow COP26) with the PNGFA, Conservation Environmental Protection Authority (CEPA) and Climate Change Development Authority (CCDA) for coordinated private sector and inter-government agency approach  Signing of a Tripartite Agreement with relevant Landowner group(s) and PNGFA  Written support from respective Provincial Governors in PNG  Granting of forest carbon concessions covering approximately 800,000 hectares, with potential to expand to 1.4 million hectares   The executed HOA concerns several areas of pristine untouched forests in existing Forest Management Agreement Areas (i.e. forest areas that would otherwise be logged). The reclassification of these areas from logging into carbon concessions enables the establishment of a carbon credit estate. The reclassification will protect and preserve PNG’s unique biodiversity whilst providing Landowners and the PNG Government (particularly Forestry, CCDA and Provincial Government) with the vast majority of net revenues from any future carbon credit trading.    From the various locations identified under the HOA, Mayur has been granted forest carbon concession for three areas representing approximately 800,000 hectares. This is a key milestone in enabling the company to follow through on its previously announced strategic intent to establish a carbon offset portfolio and enter the carbon trading markets.   MR has had ongoing engagement with PNGFA, CEPA, CCDA and Landowner groups and a detailed engagement process has been undertaken in accord with relevant Forestry and CCDA legislative requirements.   To be recognised as internationally acceptable “carbon concessions/estates” and allow carbon credit trading, the 3 areas are to be firstly verified under the United Nation’s Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative where such groups such as VERRA1 are used to assure independent compliance in the projects set up and ongoing management throughout the life of the carbon credit.   Director of Mayur’s Renewables business, Mr Sinton Spence, said the deal was crucial to ensure the company’s shovel-ready Central Cement & Limestone (CCL) Project near Port Moresby was carbon neutral as it neared a scheduled first production date in 2024.   “The prevention of logging activities via land use reclassification will importantly preserve endangered pristine and biodiverse forests in PNG and effectively neutralises the emissions from our projects, including our flagship CCL Project, and provides PNG for the first time with its own domestically produced Clinker/Cement and Quicklime products, while enabling the Company to produce net zero nation building materials for PNG and neighbouring international markets. This approach displaces costly and environmentally unsound imports whilst creating large scale new green and nation building employment within PNG,” Mr Spence said.   “This not only serves our credentials to be a supplier of choice in the Pacific region for building materials but enables surplus carbon credits to be traded in international markets with the majority of revenues to be distributed to the Landowners and PNG Government supporting long-term sustainability and resilience.”   Mr Spence said each carbon credit represented one metric tonne of carbon emissions and would be certified under globally recognised organisations standards such as VERRA.   “The carbon estates program is expected to have its first project verified within the next 12 to 18 months. This is being administered by Mayur Renewables Advisory Board, led by Professor Chalapan Kaluwin from the University of PNG, the country’s leading authority on carbon credit initiatives,” he said.   Professor Chalapan said the program delivered on PNG’s commitments in accord with the Climate Change and Development Authority regulation, post COP26, without compromising PNG’s Sustainable Development vision.   “It is critical that PNG’s economy is not stopped from growing to attain acceptable living standards for all citizens as other nations have already secured for themselves, which includes having the basic building blocks of cement and lime produced ‘in country’, rather than importing such products from Asia that come from more expensive and higher emission polluting facilities. Ensuring the majority of the monetary benefits flow through to the people of PNG in accord with the VERRA standard under a REDD+ style project will be my key focus” he said.   Tribeca Investment Partners Asia chief executive Mr Ben Cleary added, “The award of these three Carbon Permits to Mayur Renewables is a significant milestone and provides Tribeca and VT Carbon Partners confidence that Mayur is moving and is delivering, following the announcement of our $3M loan facility, as announced to the market by Mayur on 20 December 2021. PNG’s pristine and untouched rainforests mean it’s well placed to become one of the largest carbon credit producers in the world”.   Eddie Listorti, CEO of Viridios Capital said, “With the support of world-leading carbon project developers such as Everland, and in future planned collaboration with Mayur Renewables, PNG Landowners and the PNG Government, VT Carbon Partners intends to produce the highest quality, nature based high impact VERRA accredited REDD+ projects.” Mr Listorti added, “With the clear signal emerging from COP26 in Glasgow of unanimous support to end global deforestation, along with an increasing number of corporations pledging to decarbonise, an avoided deforestation and degradation project like this in PNG is precisely the kind of project that is needed to support such crucial ambitions”.   Article courtesy of Mayur Resources

Business

PNG Business News - January 12, 2022

PNG Launches Coffee In India

Photo credit: Midday Dr Asif Iqbal, President of the Indian Economic Trade Organization, greeted HE Paulias Korni, High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea, and reiterated the two countries' commitment to a strong collaboration. In India, there is a lot of interest in Papua New Guinea, a country with a lot of potential for bilateral trade in oil, gas, and gold. The Indian delegation, led by then-President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, demonstrated a high level of interest between the two countries. Shri, the Head of the MEA Secretariat in Chennai, was present during the function. IFS Venkatachalam Murugan also spoke on India's desire to strengthen its ties with the Pacific area and its assistance for the numerous island nations around Papua New Guinea. Through the Exim Bank, India has already given several loan lines to Papua New Guinea. Shri. Tamilnadu Minister for Finance and Human Resources Management was also present at the ceremony. Shri. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan and Palanivel Thiaga Rajan Gingee K S Masthan greeted the High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea and expressed support for bilateral partnership potential. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, India's finance minister, remarked that global economic links are critical and that the expansion of commercial relations between India and Papua New Guinea is encouraging. Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri. Gingee K S Masthan also urged Tamils residing overseas to invest in the state, stating that expatriate Tamils' contribution to economic growth is critical. Tamils residing overseas should come to Tamil Nadu to develop businesses, according to the Minister for Minorities Welfare and Non-Resident Tamils' Welfare, who added that Chief Minister M K Stalin was taking particular initiatives in this regard. “As a President of the organization, my goal is to build bilateral relations reach new heights between India and Papua New Guinea and our delegation in 2015 saw tremendous interest from the Indian side, Next delegation from Tamil Nadu will go in the month of March 2022,” said Dr Asif Iqbal, who is aiming to link businesses in PNG, The Indian team will look at the potential in the fields of contract farming, poultry, meat processing, and agricultural partnerships, as well as other options for the country's infrastructure requirements, such as setting up a gold refinery. The High Commissioner also gave the dignitaries Papua New Guinea coffee beans and showed interest in supporting the MOU inked by GD Café Pvt Ltd and ADZGURU, led by Mr Sujoy Maitra. Mr Sujoy Maitra is a Papua New Guinea government advisor who is working on a dual taxation agreement between India and PNG. “I also would like to pledge the support for the MS CELLAMUTHU FOUNDATION headed by Dr C . Ramasubramanian who is doing yeoman service to the community of mentally challenged for enabling them employment and jobs,” said Mr Sujoy Maitra. The High Commissioner also expressed a strong desire to help the two countries trade relations and invited the business community to look into all of the options available to investors. PNG is the largest Pacific Island nation, both in terms of population and size, with a population of 7.1 million people and a land area of 462.840 square kilometres. Over 3,000 Indians work here, largely business people and professionals in fields like IT and IT-enabled services, education, and mining. The total value of bilateral commerce is $ 209 million, with $157 million in imports and $52.19 million in exports. As a result of the finding of natural gas, Indian corporations are looking at different projects in PNG, and growth in commerce and trade, particularly in Indian processed food, is expected to expand. The India Pacific Trade Council also awarded Dr R.C.M. Vishnu Prabhu M.D. with a certificate of appointment at the ceremony. Mr Jayanthi Lal was appointed as the National Trade Commissioner and Mr Jayanthi Lal was appointed as the Trade Commissioner for Commodities. Both will send delegates to the island nation to reinforce systems in place to facilitate commerce between the two countries.   Reference: Midday (10 January 2022). “Papua New Guinea Launches Coffee in India”.

Business

PNG Business News - January 12, 2022

Marape Announces Cabinet Reshuffle

Photo: James Marape Prime Minister Hon. James Marape recently announced a Cabinet reshuffle with six portfolios being rotated. This is in the wake of Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce and Industry Minister Hon. Sam Basil and Defence Minister Hon. Solan Mirisim being restored back to full office by their respective leadership tribunals recently. As the National Executive Council (NEC) prepares for its first meeting of 2022, the announcement was made. “In the reshuffle, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Sam Basil, who has just come out of a Leadership Tribunal, remains as DPM and takes over the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure,” PM Marape said. “Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Hon. William Samb takes over the Ministry of Commerce and Industry from Hon. Basil. “Civil Aviation Minister, Hon. Seki Agisa has been moved to Correctional Services. “Correctional Services Minister, Hon. Win Daki, has been moved to Defence. “Defence Minister, Hon. Solan Mirisim, who has also come out of a Leadership Tribunal, has been moved to Forests. “Forests Minister, Hon Walter Schnaubelt, has been moved to Civil Aviation.” PM Marape said the reshuffle was no indication of the performance of the ministers rotated and gave them the opportunity to be exposed to other sectors of work. “With the elections coming up soon, I will be at work to assist ministers to do their work so the Executive Government is functioning right through the election period,” he said.   Reference: Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council (10 January 2022). “PM Marape Announces Cabinet Reshuffle”.

Business

PNG Business News - January 12, 2022

Madang Chamber of Commerce and Industry Proposes Joint Venture for Pacific Marine Industrial Zone

Photo Credit: PNGI Central  The Madang Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) has proposed a joint venture between the private sector and the government to build the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone (PMIZ) project in Madang. Kevin Murray, president of the Chamber, believes the project will be unlikely to be funded entirely by the government. In the 2022 National Budget, the government set aside K100 million for the project, with an expected total cost of K1.2 billion by the end of 2025. “The PMIZ project has been on and off for about 10 years,” Murray told The National. “If it does go ahead like promised, it will be a major development for Madang. “It has been promised a number of times in the past and I can’t predict what is actually going to happen. We are all hoping that it’s going to go ahead. “It more than likely should be a joint venture by the corporate sector and government. “I don’t (think) the Government is going to fund it and frankly, companies who are going to build their business within the PMIZ are obviously going to bear the cost of building their own infrastructure. “The Government can help by providing roads and other infrastructure for commercial activities. “Companies themselves should be able to build their own factories or production facilities for the PMIZ. “The Government should play its part by making sure that there are proper roads, water is provided and there is electricity.”   Reference: The National (10 January 2022). “Official suggests PMIZ project be co-funded”.

Business

PNG Business News - January 12, 2022

ICCC Likely to Approve Telstra Clearance

Photo credit: Ry Crozier - Telstra The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) ruled that Telstra's planned acquisition of Digicel PNG would not impair competition in the telecommunications industry, thus the deal is likely to go forward. Members of the public can still offer their opinions, which will be taken into account, according to the commissioner and chief executive officer Paulus Ain. This comes after the ICCC determined that the planned transaction will not reduce competition in the telecommunications industry. The ICCC will give the deal the go light, according to Ain in a draft judgment. The public will now be invited to comment on the proposed merger. “After careful consideration of the information provided in Telstra’s clearance application, as well as comments received from both industry participants and relevant stakeholders, including available market information, the ICCC concluded in its draft determination that the proposed acquisition will not have, or will not be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in any telecommunication services market,” Ain said. “The ICCC, therefore, proposes to give clearance to Telstra to proceed with the proposed acquisition. “The ICCC now invites persons who may have an interest in the proposed acquisition to provide comments and or make submissions on the draft determination.” Except for material designated "secret" by the sender, he added, all contributions will be viewed as public information. "Where the material is designated secret, the submitter must explain justification(s) for why that information should not be made public or kept private. “The ICCC will assess and decide on the confidentiality claim(s),” he said. “All comments and submissions should reach the ICCC by Jan 25, 2022.”    Reference: The National (7 January 2021). “ICCC to give Telstra clearance”.

Mining

PNG Business News - January 12, 2022

Enga Adopts Government Framework For Porgera Reopening

The Enga Provincial Executive Council (PEC) has adopted the National Government's revised project framework for reopening the Porgera mine in April this year. While announcing the PEC approval over the weekend, Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas praised the National Government for its goal to reopen the world-class Porgera Gold Mine under a new project framework. “The Marape Government has been bold and decisive in negotiating a new deal for the country and I am proud to say that Enga Province under my administration firmly supports the effort,” Sir Peter said. The governor said the Enga PEC's approval was a significant step toward restarting the mine this year, and he hoped to achieve even better outcomes. Sir Peter also urged all Porgera landowners to get together and support the Marape Government's new vision for Enga Province and the country. Sir Peter stated that the provincial administration was now looking forward to drafting a new memorandum of understanding (MoA) with the project partners and that the province will work closely with the Marape government to ensure that the mine's goal is realized. He said that the vision will ensure future development for Enga Province's present and future generations. Following Prime Minister James Marape's announcement last year, Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL) is preparing to reopen the mine in April. BNL is also expected to issue a public statement later this month about the mine's re-opening progress.   Reference: Post-Courier (7 January 2022). “Enga provincial gov’t Supports New Porgera Mine Deal”.

Mining

PNG Business News - January 12, 2022

K92 Mining Announces Record Annual and Quarterly Production, Exceeding Updated Guidance, and Strong Performance From Judd

K92 Mining Inc. announces production results for the fourth quarter of 2021 at its Kainantu Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea, of 36,145 oz AuEq or 33,220 oz gold, 1,048,100 lbs copper and 28,218 oz silver. Annual production also achieved a record of 104,196 oz AuEq or 95,055 oz gold, 3,375,528 lbs copper and 70,792 oz silver, exceeding the updated guidance range of 96,000 to 102,000 oz AuEq. During the fourth quarter, the process plant delivered record throughput of 99,713 tonnes. Excluding 5 consecutive days of downtime due to scheduled plant maintenance, the mill operated at an average throughput of 1,146 tonnes per day (“tpd”), exceeding Stage 2 Expansion design throughput of 1,100 tpd. Multiple daily records were set during the quarter, with 21 days exceeding 1,300 tpd throughput and a daily record of 1,538 tonnes set on October 24, 2021. Importantly, recoveries were also strong during the quarter at 92.8% for gold and 92.9% for copper, both exceeding budget. Gold and copper recoveries represent the highest recoveries since Q4 2020 and Q4 2019, respectively. Plant capabilities are expected to also further improve with the full integration of the gravity circuit planned for Q1 2022. With the process plant continuing to deliver significantly above design throughput and a notably finer than required product size, a Stage 2A Expansion to increase throughput from 400,000 tonnes per annum (1,100 tpd) to a nameplate of 500,000 tonnes per annum (1,370 tpd) has been approved ( see October 7, 2021 press release: K92 Mining Announces Stage 2A Expansion to Increase Throughput +25% to 500,000 Tonnes Per Annum at Kainantu Gold Mine) . Works are already underway targeting commissioning in Q3 2022, with an estimated plant expansion capital cost of US$2.5 million. Mining operations also achieved record material movements in the fourth quarter with 108,461 tonnes of mill feed material movements. The mining rate exceeded our target of achieving the Stage 2 target throughput of 1,100 tpd at year end, averaging ~1,180 tpd (mill feed), and the strong performance resulted in an increase to our stockpiles. During the quarter, the first production stope from the Judd #1 (“J1”) Vein was mined and has delivered strong performance thus far, including solid geotech, high grades, and strong drill and blast characteristics (see Figure 1). Judd has also shown that it is capable of delivering large stopes (first stope 40 m strike x 30 m height x 4.5-5m thickness) and large blasts with a fast turnaround cycle, including a stoping single blast record of 4.1 kt in December 2021. The establishment of the Judd Vein System as a new major mining front has provided a significant boost to operational flexibility and material movements. Judd is located ~150-200m from existing infrastructure at the Kora high-grade deposit, making it highly efficient to access going forward. The operation delivered head grades of 11.2 g/t gold, 0.51% copper and 10 g/t silver (12.1 g/t AuEq) in Q4. Gold grades delivered a positive reconciliation against the resource model and were also above budget. Long hole stoping continued to perform to design, with operations focused on Kora’s K1 and K2 veins and also Judd’s J1 Vein for a total of 7 levels mined. Mining on Kora was conducted on the 1150, 1170, 1205, 1225 and 1265 levels and Judd on the 1235 and 1265 levels. The new twin incline development resumed in late May, after the COVID-19 Papua New Guinea and Australia travel restrictions were lifted and the COVID-19 situation in Papua New Guinea improved. Twin incline development advancement has continued to progress well, exceeding budget for the second half of 2021 and in line with budget during Q4. The #2 (6m x 6m) incline has now advanced a total of 803 metres and the #3 (5m x 5m) incline has now advanced a total of 893 metres as of December 31, 2021. COVID-19 Operational Resiliency The Kainantu Gold Mine operates under a comprehensive COVID-19 Management Plan and has continuously operated during the pandemic. A considerable focus is on health and safety and risk-mitigation. Under the COVID-19 Management Plan, K92 has established a Government-recognized testing lab facility utilizing qualified medical personnel on site, established quarantine and isolation facilities for incoming staff, and implemented enhanced hygiene, disinfecting and training systems and procedures. Additional controls were implemented in 2021, requiring external COVID-19 testing prior to travel to quarantine at site in addition to on arrival at site before reporting to quarantine. A focus has been supporting Government efforts at a national, provincial and local level through the 1.5 million PGK (Papua New Guinea Kina) COVID-19 Assistance Fund and a further 1.0 million PGK of additional assistance funding to Eastern Highlands Province. In addition to various control measures, K92 continues to make considerable progress increasing our resiliency through vaccinations of our expatriate and PNG national workforce, with vaccinations administered on site well underway. Over 65% of our workforce (employees and contractors) have received at least one vaccine dose. The Company is in close communications with the provincial and national health authorities of Papua New Guinea and the Government of Australia, in addition to the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum to deliver an effective pandemic response. John Lewins, K92 Chief Executive Officer and Director, stated, “The fourth quarter delivered our strongest quarter to date at the Kainantu Gold Mine, with record production, record mill throughput, record mine throughput, above budget processing recoveries and an excellent start to stoping activities at Judd, our new mining front. We believe that Q4 represented a major inflection point for Kainantu both operationally and with exploration. Operationally, we met our beginning of year goal of achieving Stage 2 Expansion mine and mill throughput by year-end and exceeded our updated production guidance. In 2022, we look to take another step forward with the Stage 2A Expansion, increasing nameplate throughput by +25% to 500,000 tonnes per annum, targeting commissioning in Q3 2022. On exploration, activities have recently shifted from an extended period of infill drilling at Kora to now almost entirely focused on resource growth. Step-out drilling is underway at Judd, Judd South, Kora, Kora South and also the Blue Lake Porphyry. We certainly are excited about our 2022 exploration program. It is also important to highlight that COVID-19 was certainly a factor in Q4, with a record surge of cases during the first two months driven by the Delta Variant in Papua New Guinea. K92 has a tremendous attachment to our communities, the people of Papua New Guinea, a strong sense of responsibility and it was especially painful to see the impact that COVID-19 has had. We are proud to have provided an additional 1.0 million PGK of COVID-19 assistance funding to Eastern Highlands province in Q4, in addition to our 1.5 million PGK COVID-19 Assistance Fund created in April 2020. Our site logistics team was active in rapid procurement and delivery of medical oxygen plants from Australia to the local Goroka hospital, and we strongly believe that our efforts made a difference and saved lives. I am also pleased to report that our COVID-19 control measures on site held up very well, although there were impacts from absenteeism. Encouragingly, our COVID-19 resiliency continues to improve with over 65% of our workforce vaccinated with at least one dose, and a progressive easing of restrictions has begun within the resources sector in Papua New Guinea. We have also seen a significant improvement in international travel for our expatriate workforce, consultants and suppliers over the last three months that is beginning to benefit the operation. Lastly, I would like to once again thank the K92 workforce for their extraordinary commitment, dedication and resourcefulness. The support of the Government of Papua New Guinea, and also the Australian Government has been a major factor in our success as well.”   Article courtesy of K92 Mining Inc.

Business

PNG Business News - January 11, 2022

OTML signs PGK50million Phase 1 of Tabubil-Kiunga Road Upgrade & Sealing Project

Photo credit: Ok Tedi Mining - Part of the Tabubil/Telefomin road currently under construction is one of the TCS funded projects. Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) has signed a PGK50 million project agreement to commence the upgrading and sealing of the Kiunga-Tabubil Highway.  The agreement was signed today (11th January 2022) in Port Moresby between OTML and contractor, China Railway Construction Engineering Group Co. Limited for Phase One of project. Funded under the Government’s Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (ITCS) program, the project will be undertaken in three phases, with Phase One to commence in February which will see the upgrading and sealing of the highway commencing at Kilometre-3 near Kiunga town. Phases 2 and 3 will follow suit once further funding is available through the ITCS. OTML Deputy CEO and General Manager Community and Operations Support, Kedi Ilimbit, said the 135-kilometre highway provides a vital link for the people of North Fly and having it upgraded and sealed will significantly help the people, local farmers and small-to-medium enterprises. Since 1997 OTML has spent over PGK300 million on ITCS projects in Western Province and Telefomin District in Sandaun Province. These include high impact priority projects in Health, Education, Law and Justice and Transport Infrastructure and Utilities. OTML recently thanked the National Government for increasing the Tax Credit Scheme (TCS) ceiling from 0.75% to 2% as announced in the 2022 National Budget. The increased tax credit ceiling along with improved performance by OTML in the near term, mine performance is expected to see a significant increase in annual tax credits from approximately K25 million per annum to more than K100 million per annum over the life of the mine Other major projects being considered include the upgrading and sealing of the Daru Town Roads and airport extension, construction of a new District Court House in Kiunga, refurbishment of the Aiambak Secondary High School, road link to Vanimo and Hela Province, construction of Atemkit/Kavorabip road and construction of the road from Alice Pit to the border.   Article courtesy of Ok Tedi Mining

Company

PNG Business News - January 11, 2022

Ok Tedi Tax Credit Scheme to Develop Region

Photo credit: Ok Tedi Mining - Part of the Tabubil/Telefomin road currently under construction is one of the TCS funded projects. Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) has commended the National Government for the increase in the Tax Credit Scheme (TCS) ceiling from 0.75% to 2% as announced in the 2022 National Budget. The change, along with strengthening production from the mine, will see a significant increase in annual tax credits from current levels approximating PGK25 million per annum to more than K100 million per annum over the life of the mine. The funds will be used to develop high impact priority projects in Health, Education, Law and Justice and Transport Infrastructure and Utilities in the Western and neighbouring Sandaun Provinces. OTML Managing Director & CEO, Musje Werror said the National Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Hon James Marape has recognised the need for more funds to be diverted to develop remote regions and has shown confidence in the public private partnership arrangement under the Ok Tedi TCS to deliver the infrastructure projects. Mr Werror added that OTML has spent over K300 million on TCS projects in these two provinces since the inception of the scheme in 1997 and there is much more to be done to improve and sustain the livelihoods of the people. “We want to connect these two provinces by a road network from the North to the South and open up the region for the people to have better access to services and develop their local economies. This is the legacy that OTML wants to leave behind.” Other major projects being considered include the upgrade and sealing of the Daru Town Roads and airport extension, construction of a new District Court House in Kiunga, upgrade of the Kiunga District Hospital, refurbishment of the Aiambak Secondary High School, sealing of the Kiunga/Tabubil Highway, road link to Vanimo and Hela Province, construction of Atemkit/Kavorabip road and construction of the road from Alice Pit to the border. He said the new TCS projects will be aligned with the National & Provincial Governments priorities and will be managed through OTML’s projects and contracts management processes.   Article courtesy of Ok Tedi Mining

Finance

PNG Business News - January 05, 2022

Treasurer Happy With Central Bank Modernisation

Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey is delighted with the work being done to put the modifications to the Central Banking Act into effect, which were voted unanimously by Parliament last December 2021. Treasurer Ling-Stuckey stated in a statement that following the NEC's decision on a new Acting Governor, Benny Popoitai, the former Head of Financial Analysis and Supervisory Unit and former Deputy Governor, will be sworn in as Acting Governor. This, according to Ling-Stuckey, is the beginning of the reform process to modernize BPNG by increasing governance, accountability, and independence. “The reforms are the result of a comprehensive consultation process involving key firms and institutions in PNG, other central banks in our region and the IMF. The nation must say thank you to the Independent Advisory Group that led these consultations and their 132-page report on reform options.   “The Government has carefully considered these recommendations and is now proposing specific reforms,” he said.  It was regrettable, according to Treasurer Ling-Stuckey, that the former Governor refused to engage with the review process, declining several requests for meetings and failing to designate any BPNG officials to the review Secretariat. “The former Governor wrote to the Prime Minister protesting the review. The time for his input was in the preparation of recommendations to the government from the IAG. He constantly declined to cooperate. It is disappointing that he is now claiming inadequate consultation with himself,” said Ling-Stuckey.  He added further, “The government considered the recommendations of the IAG review and inputs on the recommendations were provided by the IMF, Treasury and eventually even BPNG.   “These were considered by the government and built into the drafting instructions for the State Solicitor and the First Legislative Counsel. The changes received the unanimous support of the Parliament, including being praised by the Leader of the Opposition.”   Treasurer Link-Stuckey urged the outgoing Governor to embrace Parliament's unanimous decision and facilitate a smooth transition to a revamped BPNG.   Reference: Loop (2 January 2021). “Modernising PNG’s Central Bank”. 

Finance

PNG Business News - January 05, 2022

Tax collection hits record K8.1 billion in 2021

Photo: PM Marape launches the new online tax payment platform, MyIRC, with Commissioner-General Koim and managers of IRC Despite a hard economic climate brought on by COVID-19, the Marape Government's commitment in reinvigorating the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) is paying off with a revenue collection of a record K8.1 billion in the year 2021. During Prime Minister Hon. David Cameron's tenure as Prime Minister, this became obvious. The following is the speech given by James Marape at the unveiling of the IRC's new online tax payment system, MyIRC Online Service Platform. This year is only the third time in the last decade that Government revenue collection has surpassed K8 billion; the first was in 2014, during the first year of PNGLNG production, and the second was in 2018, both of which were comparatively good economic years for PNG, according to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Marape went on to say that IRC and Customs' determination and desire to accomplish their joint objective despite the Covid-affected economy demonstrates his government's focus on investing resources and providing assistance for tax collectors, which has resulted in a strong revenue return. The government has shown its continued support for IRC by allocating K35 million in the 2022 budget to the Integrated Tax Management system, as well as additional K11 million for goods and service tax administration. The new online tax payment method is anticipated to enhance the functioning of the IRC. The Prime Minister said he was “totally proud” of this “milestone” performance by the tax collectors, who have worked “exceptionally well”, and even above what Treasury had anticipated by K200 million in spite of the terrible period the country is presently undergoing. “We pledged to assist IRC and Customs to the best of our ability, and this is the highest IRC and Customs have received from the Budget to ensure you build up your capacity, ramp up efficiency, and get going,” said the Prime Minister. “I am not someone who lies when I make policy pronouncements; I live up to all my policy pronouncements like I did with the SME funding commitments, the commodity price support and others.” Prime Minister Marape said he was pleased to see the IRC and Customs departments move into the e-service area since this is the way he wants government services to go. This aims to reduce human involvement and manipulation of these vital fee and tax collecting systems. “By the time the country turns 50 years in 2025, all transactions at IRC and Customs should be done digitally,” said the Prime Minister. “As part of the support to these two government agencies, 500 allotments under the National Housing Corporation will be given out to government employees, including those of IRC and Customs as more incentive to work better for our country.”   Reference: PM James Marape News Page (20 December 2021). “Tax collection hits record K8.1 billion in 2021”. 

Company

PNG Business News - January 04, 2022

The Accumin™ automatic lubrication system helps customers get the most out of their critical assets

The Accumin™ lubrication system has proven itself an efficient way of preventing expensive bearing assembly failures, reducing maintenance downtime and promoting safety by decreasing the amount of manual interface to keep equipment performing. Accumin™ lubricators automatically deliver even, measured lubricant to the vital points of your Warman® pump. This results in enhanced availability and durability. “At Weir Minerals, we make the market leading slurry pump for mining applications, but we can’t always control what happens when it gets to site. Between dust, overflow and gland seal leaks, lubrication is a vital tool in the constant battle to keep machinery going. Having an Accumin lubrication system fitted prevents over and under greasing, protects equipment from bearing failures and frees up man hours for more critical tasks,” says Tony Millar, Director, Product Management, Weir Minerals. “When we offer Weir Minerals equipment with an Accumin lubrication system installed, what we’re really doing is giving that equipment its best shot at a long and productive working life.” The Accumin™ lubricators are suitable for most grease-lubricated rotating equipment such as Multiflo®, Hazleton®, Lewis® and GEHO® pumps and Aspir™ centrifuges. And also available for use on valves, including Isogate® knifegate valves.

Business

PNG Business News - January 04, 2022

PNGEITI HAILS SMOOTH MERGER OF PROMINENT INDUSTRY PAYERS IN SANTOS & OIL SEARCH

Photo credit: PNGEITI - Lucas Alkan Papua New Guinea’s prominent petroleum company, Oil Search Ltd merger into Santos has been welcomed by the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI).   PNGEITI hailed the merger as a milestone achievement for both companies who are prominent and competitive players in the PNG petroleum space.   “The smooth transitioning of this merger arrangement demonstrates an independent and vibrant regulatory environment in Papua New Guinea where business can operate free of undue control and influence” PNG EITI Head of National Secretariat Lucas Alkan commented.   Santos Limited on Friday 17th December, 2021 announced on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) that the merger of Santos and Oil Search Limited (Oil Search) was effected on the same day. Accordingly, Santos has acquired 100 per cent of the issued capital in Oil Search from Oil Search shareholders. “Papua New Guinea EITI is happy to witness this merger of two strong companies and we believe that this arrangement will bring enhanced benefits for the shareholders and the economy.  “Oil Search has been a founding member of the PNG EITI Multi Stakeholder Group (MSG) and has played significant roles in the EITI implementation process in Papua New Guinea. “We thank Oil Search as a company for the support PNGEITI enjoyed for the last eight years and we look forward to welcoming Santos, another significant player in the industry now with boosted capacity and as second biggest player in the PNGLNG project and other significant projects that are in the pipeline- to the PNGEITI MSG,” Mr. Alkan said. “We also extend our warm congratulations to  MSG representative  Mr. Musje Werror, Managing Director Ok Tedi Mining Ltd for being appointed to the Santos board as non-executive director  and we look forward to working with him in that capacity as well going forward. “ Mr. Alkan added.   Article courtesy of PNGEITI

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