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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.”



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