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K92 Mining Concerned with Increasing COVID Cases
by PNG Business News - March 23, 2021
K92 Mining said that the corporation, as well as the resource sector, is worried about the rise in Covid-19 cases in the nation.
According to John Lewins, the company's CEO, it has the potential to have a huge impact on PNG's entire resource industry and, by extension, the rest of the economy.
“While the major concern should be the health and wellbeing of all people, the ability of the resource industry to maintain operations is critical to the ability of the Government to combat the pandemic,” he said. “Remember that the resource industry is the major driver for the PNG economy accounting for almost 30 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product) and over 80 per cent of exports. The sector also provides more than 20,000 jobs to Papua New Guineans, while 30,000 more are employed in landowner businesses, and other PNG businesses that support the industry.”
Some of the potential effects are the following:
- Due to constraints or a lack of aircraft, PNG workers are unable to travel from their homes to the mine sites;
- Skilled expatriate workers are unable to travel to PNG.
For the next two weeks, Australia has stopped the movement of fly-in-fly-out personnel.
If this trend persists, it will be impossible to keep the resource sector running safely without these skilled employees, and all operations will be forced to shut down.
- Covid-19 infection among skilled PNG workers, causing them to be unable to work for short or long periods of time;
- Locals are worried about the Covid-19 being brought in by "outsiders," causing unrest.
- Transportation of supplies and equipment between provinces is restricted;
- Delays in the release of products and equipment from ports;
- Impact of the Covid-19 on PNG Powe and all manufacturers and contractors
- PNG Power, fuel suppliers, trucking firms, and maintenance contractors are all affected by the Covid-19, as are supply chain matters from foreign vendors.
“Keeping the resource industry operating is of major importance to PNG as it is the major contributor to the economy and if this is impacted or stops, this will obviously have a massive impact on the PNG economy,” Lewins said. “Imagine the equivalent of another 10 Porgera mines stopping production, tens of thousands of jobs (K92 alone has over 1,000 employees and contractors), hundreds of millions in lost taxes and royalties, loss of business for suppliers, contractors, trucking companies and the like plus impacts on local communities. The potential impact on the economy in turn affects the ability of the Papua New Guinea Government to combat the pandemic.”
PNG Business News - March 16, 2021
PM Marape: As Covid-19 Cases Rise, PNG Will Be Placed In Nationwide Isolation
As a result of a high number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases recorded in the country, Papua New Guinea will be placed in a nationwide quarantine. This was revealed by Prime Minister James Marape at a press conference in Port Moresby. He stated that this would not be a "severe lockdown," and that companies and government would be able to function normally. After returning from attending the funeral of late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare in Wewak, East Sepik Province, he will reveal the specifics of the isolation strategy. “The nationwide isolation strategy will ensure people are not moving from place to place unnecessarily,’’ said Mr Marape. “Remain in your province, remain in your district, remain in your village and where you are,’’ he said. The National Control Centre, according to Marape, will work with the Regional Health Authorities and Provincial Coordination Centres to ensure that the provincial response plans placed in place last year are enabled and that funds set aside for the response are used effectively. In the implementation of the isolation policy, NCC will cooperate with the National Department of Education. PNG began its response in the green alert phase (no cases at first, then one around March), jumped to the next risk stage when it identified a few cases, and is now in the red alert phase due to community transmission in a number of provinces, according to Marape. COVID-19, he said, is not a joke. "For those who think COVID-19 is a joke, or are playing around; this is an established pandemic,’’ he said. He noted that every effort is being made to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine being brought into the country is of world-class quality and safe to use. If PNG is unsure about the vaccine, he is willing to be the test subject.
PNG Business News - March 19, 2021
It's Important to Combat the Virus, Ceo Says
According to PNG Manufacturers Council chief executive officer Chey Scovell, businesses support the urgent need to stop the current spread of the Covid-19 but agree that a full-scale, literal lockdown isn't feasible in Papua New Guinea. When asked whether companies were preparing for a lockdown due to the increase in Covid-19 incidents, Scovell said yes. “This depends on what you mean by ‘prepared’,” he said.“Can they physically stop operating and send all staff home, yes? However, manufacturers are not responsible for filling up warehouses (in stores), if we close manufacturers, shelves run empty. If we close shops, people can’t make any purchases.” According to Scovell, PNG's capacity for home delivery services is inadequate, and most people lack the opportunity to stock up on supplies for two to four weeks. He said that while manufacturers continued to provide healthy work environments for workers to protect against the Covid-19 and reduce the risk of infection, they were unable to implement all safety procedures and behaviours. The reality is that we are now in stage three,” he said. “Movements should already be restricted, it’s simply not being enforced at all, in any way.” For Scovell, restricting mobility was necessary but not always feasible because many facilities required staff to travel and people needed to move as well. “We support the guidelines and the restrictions under each stage,” he said. “We would ask that rules be followed and enforced. Our manufacturers have put in place measures to comply with the rules. It’s outside the workplace that rules are not being followed.” Only critical staff were required to attend work during stages three and four, according to Scovell, but this was not the case. “In my membership, they are working in rotations, working from home, have made substantial changes to their work layouts to ensure distancing,” he said. “The Government lacks the capacity to effectively enforce the guidelines.” He claimed that because the government lacked sufficient workers (police, health workers, teachers, etc.) for the country, expecting the police to effectively enforce the rules was impractical. We each have to play our part,” he said. “Maybe a hotline for workers and customers to report non-compliance would assist, but even then it would still be a challenge for the government to visit and penalise those that aren’t complying.” To manage the effect of the Covid-19 on businesses and people's lives, Scovell said constant knowledge, leadership from politicians and bureaucrats, and vigilance from the public were needed.
PNG Business News - March 22, 2021
Businesses Must Take Lead In The Prevention of COVID-19
With the recent rise in COVID-19 positive cases in PNG, peak bodies representing industry, the private sector, and development partners are urging their members to take the lead in promoting and enforcing necessary virus prevention protocols. In a joint statement released recently, the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PNGCCI) and the Business Council of PNG (BCPNG) reminded businesses to introduce the Niupela Pasin (New Normal) at every workplace. The Niupela Pasin contains the following steps to protect staff, customers, and the general public at all workplaces. Stay at home if you're sick. Don't bother going to work. Do not mingle. Call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800200 if you have a fever, cough, sore throat, or trouble breathing. If you've been told to self-isolate, you should do so right away. Maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters between yourself, your coworkers, and your clients. No handshakes or fist bumps! Simply welcome each other with a smile, a nod, or a quick hello Door handles, phones, keyboards, elevator keys, kitchens, and bathrooms should all be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis. Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water, or an alcohol-based sanitizer should be used. Sneeze and cough into your elbow, or use a tissue and throw it away as soon as possible. Reduce the amount of time people spend in the workplace. Limit wide in-person meetings and instead conduct them over the phone or over the internet. To protect yourself and others, wear a face mask or face covering in all public places. Work with your physicians to figure out how to stay safe whether you're worried about your health or have underlying medical conditions. “These are measures that are now a normal part of life in the New Normal,” it said. “As the voice of business, the private sector and development partners, we remind all our members to ensure that all measures are taken to protect everyone from COVID-19. This is a shared responsibility, which we all must play our part in addressing. Given the recent spike in community transmission resulting in increased positive COVID-19 cases being reported, and the continued constraints faced by our health facilities, it is important that we take the lead in promoting, and practising COVID-19 prevention protocols,”
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PNG Business News - May 13, 2021
National Airport Corporation to Focus on Redevelopment Projects
The National Airports Corporation plans to devote more resources to the redevelopment projects at Kavieng, Tari, and Mendi airports as part of the Civil Aviation Growth Investment Program. With the exception of three airports, all airports under the CADIP program are on a budget, according to NAC acting managing director Rex Kiponge. Apart from Jackson Airport in Port Moresby, Kiponge claims that the majority of the country's airports are unable to handle the newly launched F100 aircraft. “The introduction of F100 aircraft has deteriorated the condition of runways in PNG. Under CADIP, fencing and runway length deficiencies will now meet the F100 and ICAO requirements. CADIP was implemented to meet the minimum PNG Civil Aviation Rules (CARS) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practices in all the 22 airports in the country. “The F100 aircraft require a minimum runway length of 1900 metres –– only three airports meet this requirement.” The F100 will be able to land at 12 airports thanks to a CADIP runway length upgrade. Port Moresby is now the only province that meets the operating criteria for F100 planes. Standby control, security fencing, apron parking, runway, taxiway, and apron strength, and a runway length suitable for takeoff at maximum payload are all part of the 22 airport upgrades. Kiponge recently visited the three airports and expressed his satisfaction with the development. Contractors have already finished construction on the security fence at Kavieng Airport, and work on the runway extension is going well. Once the runway extension is complete, the contractors can begin work on the terminal. He mentioned that the runway extension at Tari Airport is complete, and contractors are currently working on the apron, which will be finished until the runway extension is completed. Owing to the contractors' inability to obtain materials for the runway at Mendi Airport, NAC has requested that they redo the runway before moving on to the other areas. “Despite whatever issues within NAC, I will ensure that all 22 NAC’s airports undergoing upgrading will be completed and I will put in a lot of efforts and focus to makes certain work is done well and completed,” Kiponge said.
PNG Business News - May 13, 2021
Govt to Focus on Downstream Processing
The government is putting a lot of effort into encouraging downstream production in the region. This was said by Prime Minister James Marape during a visit to Paradise Foods Company Limited. “We are focused on downstream processing as far as going forward is concerned –– instead of exporting raw products,” said Marape. “We want to go downstream to satisfy our local markets as well as export to economies around us.” PNG is fortunate, according to Marape, to have access to 60% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) through the APEC network. “As well as, not just the APEC network, but in the vicinity of PNG’s accessibility to markets, we have over 4 billion people from the Pacific, Northern Asia, Western Asia and Northeast Asia put together. “So to satisfy our local markets in PNG for our 8 million-plus people, as well as the opportunity of exporting to markets closest to us like our neighbouring countries.” Marape has stated that he supports downstream production and marketing of PNG's natural resources both locally and internationally. “Today, I am privileged to visit an industry that has been at work since 1945, and I’d like to thank Paradise Foods Company Limited for doing a wonderful job and feeding our country.” Marape promised that the government will help the industry and market.
PNG Business News - May 13, 2021
Mayur Discusses Power Plant Project in Lae
Mayur Resources Ltd says it has formed an ongoing relationship with the State negotiation team to discuss and finalize a power purchase agreement (PPA) for its planned power plant in Lae, Morobe. The organization was waiting for the State negotiation team's makeup to be finalized and signed off, according to managing director Paul Mulder. After that, he said, the Enviro Energy Park (EEP) project's final discussions and negotiations will begin. Mayur's planned 52.5-megawatt EEP project is an advanced power plant that will produce more efficient and cheaper electricity than current solutions by combining conventional thermal energy (sourced from the company's wholly-owned Depot Creek project), solar, and biomass woodchip, while also supplying co-generated steam to nearby industrial users who were burning diesel for their steam needs. The EEP, which is near Lae, will also have steam as a by-product for local industrial uses, and potential dual fuel systems will allow for the use of diesel. “The energy park would balance the need for new environmentally friendly technologies and reliable energy,” Mulder said.