PNG Acquires More Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine from New Zealand
by PNG Business News - June 21, 2021
Photo Credit: PNG Health Department
Through the COVAX facility, Papua New Guinea has acquired a further 146,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from New Zealand.
Although testing is restricted, the true number of people affected is anticipated to be considerably higher. PNG has documented over 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus, the great majority of which occurred in the last several months. Officially, 167 people have died.
The doses donated by New Zealand, according to PNG's Health Secretary, Osborne Liko, would strengthen the country's immunization program and guarantee that more people, especially critical frontline workers, are protected.
"These doses will ensure more lives are saved and that frontline workers can continue to provide essential services to the people of Papua New Guinea,'' Dr Liko said.
However, PNG officials have had a difficult time getting people to vaccinate, with reluctance being a major roadblock.
Only 41,000 people, most vital employees and about 7,000 health personnel, have received the first dosage of Astrazeneca since March.
However, up to a hundred thousand Astrazeneca pills provided by Australia and India earlier this year are expected to go to waste next month when they expire, unless the rate of adoption rises.
Dr Daoni Esorom, Papua New Guinea's Deputy Pandemic Response Controller, said the 146,000 doses sent by New Zealand will assist the Department of Health and the National Control Centre is rolling out the second dose of Astrazeneca among frontline health workers and other essential front line workers.
The fact that PNG is receiving 20% of the doses sent to it from the COVAX facility, while partners such as the Australian and New Zealand governments will support additional doses to the PNG government - all of which are purported to enable the government to vaccinate 50% of its eligible population - according to Dr Daoni.
Phillip Taula, the New Zealand High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, recently received the dosages at Jackson's Airport.
"As whanaunga, friends, and partners, Aotearoa New Zealand stands alongside the Pacific at this difficult time," he said.
"PNG's success in tackling COVID-19 has been hard-won at an enormous cost to your economy and livelihoods. New Zealand is proud to be partnering with PNG to help us all get through this."
RNZ (18 June 2021). “PNG receives 146-thousand vaccine doses from NZ”.
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,”
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 - September 16, 2021
Engaging the global crowd to design the electric mine of the future
Today, the Electric Mine Consortium (EMC) launched the ‘Electric Mine Simulation’ crowd challenge in partnership with the OZ Minerals Think & Act Differently ideas incubator and Unearthed. OZ Minerals, IGO, South 32, Blackstone Minerals, Evolution Mining, Barminco and Goldfields have committed to significantly reducing their carbon footprint. These seven mining companies along with a number of partner companies, have come together to form the Electric Mine Consortium, a collaborative group seeking to accelerate progress towards a fully electrified zero carbon and zero particulates mine. Electrification of mine sites is a critical step change needed for the mining industry to achieve a zero carbon future. Switching to electric and renewable energy represents a transformational shift that will change the way mines are designed. This challenge is about using simulation to understand the impacts of electrification on mine design and through this challenge the EMC is looking to find innovators that can help do this. The eight-week online challenge invites companies and individuals from around the world to propose an approach to designing an open architecture, mine design simulation platform that can initially be used to compare a fully electric underground mine with its traditional diesel powered equivalent. Brett Triffett, Transformation Technologist, from OZ Minerals explained, “there is a great opportunity to use whole-of-mine simulations that integrate all of the dependent systems so we can understand the holistic value in transitioning from diesel to electric solutions in underground mines. We would like to be able to quickly build and test different mine designs and compare things like productivity, costs, emissions and energy requirements. We think that eventually this capability could be expanded to include the entire mining value chain. We have invited the crowd to propose solutions because we are not currently aware of a platform that meets this brief. What we have learned from running previous crowd challenges is that there are often people from outside our industry who have ideas or technology that can be applied to mining. These people are often unknown to us and in many cases they are unfamiliar with our industry. By participating in a crowd challenge, innovators can access a new market and be supported in developing new products and business models.”. A selected cohort from from this challenge will join the Think & Act Differently incubator and be supported in developing a demonstration of their solution. The incubator program is a supportive environment that includes; funding, mentoring, opportunities for collaboration, capability uplift and exposure to mining data and mining operations from across the EMC members.
PNG Business News - September 15, 2021
Weir Minerals strengthens its partnership with international technology group, Andritz
Weir Minerals and Andritz have signed an agreement at MINExpo 2021 expanding their shared commitment and strategic cooperation to supply equipment for processing tailings in the mining industry. The foundations of this agreement have been built on a shared understanding and vision to enable the sustainable and efficient delivery of the natural resources essential to create a better future for the world. Since 2018, Weir Minerals’ and Andritz’s partnership has seen them collaborate on joint tailings projects. This shared history as partners – a collaboration made stronger by the quality of individuals on both teams – has reinforced their abiding belief that together, both Weir Minerals and Andritz are stronger. This shared success has led both Weir Minerals and Andritz to renew their on-going commitment and announce they’ll be expanding their offer to all regions around the globe. Utilising Andritz’s proven separation and dewatering technologies, Weir Minerals has strengthened its whole-of-mine capabilities, showcasing market-leading products from extraction to comminution, mill circuit and tailings management. ‘Weir Minerals has been providing tailings solutions for decades; we have dedicated research facilities – the Weir Technical Centre in Melbourne, Australia and the Sustainable Mining Centre in Venlo, Netherlands – that are challenging conventional ways of thinking about tailings, while also developing practical, innovative and sustainable solutions that will reduce operating costs and improve safety,’ Ricardo Garib, Weir Minerals Division President said. ‘Decreasing ore grades mean that mines are producing more tailings than ever before. One of the challenges with tailings management is that there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach; each mine requires a tailored solution that carefully considers the minerals being processed, as well as the site’s climatic and geological conditions. Weir Minerals prides itself on having both the expertise and equipment that allows us to partner with miners everywhere to plan and implement tailings solutions based on their operations’ unique challenges and this agreement with Andritz enhances those capabilities,’ he said. ‘Andritz has a long history working across a range of different industries. We are very proud of the work we’ve done with Weir Minerals; together, we’re excited about continuing to provide a joint offering of sustainable and value-added tailings solutions. Both companies bring a different expertise and know-how to the partnership; we complement one another and ultimately it’s our customers who’ll benefit,’ Steve Huff, President Andritz Separation said. Tailings management forms an important element of Weir Minerals’ broader integrated solutions approach, which considers problems and challenges from all perspective and draws on a range of experts – process engineers, design engineers, product experts and materials scientists, among others – to identify potential challenges and opportunities and provide tailored solutions. ‘This latest agreement enhances our overall tailings offering and enables us to provide our customers with a complete tailings solution. Under the brand name IsoDry, we will continue to offer customers a range of mechanical separation technologies, such as thickeners, filter presses, centrifuges, and vacuum belt filters,’ Charlie Stone, Weir Minerals VP Sales and Business Development-Mill Circuit said. Weir Minerals has strengthened its tailings team to support the market and ensure that it can provide innovative solutions based on each customer’s specific requirements. The agreement provides the opportunity for potential future collaboration on technology, harnessing Andritz’s market-leading separation technology in conjunction with Weir Minerals’ minerals and tailings processing technology. Many of these products – Warman® pumps to transport fluid tailings, GEHO® pumps to handle paste, Cavex® hydrocyclones to dewater tailings and the Multiflo® range of dewatering solutions – have been integral to helping miners manage their waste for generations. Weir Minerals and Andritz have also reiterated their shared commitment to sustainability; it is an essential part of both their business and corporate strategies. Both companies have outlined ambitious plans to reduce their carbon emissions, while their approach to ESG initiatives extends to all aspects of their organisations. ‘Shareholders and stakeholders are rightfully demanding more sustainable mining practices and tailings management is an area where there’s a lot of scope for improvement. Weir Minerals wants to play a central role in changing how the industry thinks about and manages tailings. Ultimately, we believe that sustainable solutions are not only environmentally beneficial, but also reduce operating costs and minimise risk,’ David Almond, Weir Minerals Global Director, Product Management Process said. ‘Weir strives to make our customers more sustainable and efficient; it’s core to our purpose and at the heart of what we do. We believe that embedding sustainability throughout our organisation protects and creates long-term value for our stakeholders and secures the long-term future of Weir. Our approach to tailings management is an extension of our broader corporate strategy. There is scope to make long-lasting, impactful change in how the mining sector thinks about and manages tailings and Weir is proud to be one of the industry leaders,’ Jon Stanton, Weir Group Chief Executive said.
PNG Business News - September 15, 2021
STAKEHOLDERS VIEWS CRITICAL FOR BETTER RESOURCE GOVERNANCE: ALKAN
Head of the PNGEITI Mr Lucas Alkan last week in Wabag at the opening of the consultation. The Head of the PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Mr. Lucas Alkan has issued a strong challenge to stakeholders in the extractive industries to embrace and promote the work of EITI in Papua New Guinea to derive best value from the industry. Mr. Alkan spoke of this last week in Wabag when he opened the upper highlands regional consultation on a proposed law to transition the PNGEITI into a statutory authority. “PNG EITI is a government driven initiative to promote transparency and accountability in the PNG mining and petroleum space which has been driving the PNG economy for a sustained period of time. “But there is this misconception about proceeds from mining and petroleum activities not being translated well into development on the ground and this sentiment is shared by many at both the provincial and national level. “What PNGEITI is doing is to shed light on the leakages on revenues and proceeds from the mining and petroleum activities with the ultimate aim of improving governance in the mining and petroleum sectors using international best practice standards to see the desired development outcome from this important sector. “Seven years into PNGEITI implementation in PNG, we’ve now seen the need to make the PNGEITI administrative body, the PNGEITI into a statutory body to see more improvement in the EITI reports to enhance good governance in the sector to derive the best development outcome. “We’ve covered two regions; the New Guinea Islands and Momase regions and we are now conducting consultations in Enga and Eastern Highalnds to cover the big highlands region. “I encourage the best knowledge and views from all stakeholders from the stakeholders in these consultations so that we give birth to a law that truly reflects the genuine views of all stakeholders for better development outcomes. A State Technical working group comprising the Department of Petroleum, State Solicitor, Internal Revenue Commission, Department of Personnel Management, Department of Treasury, the National Economic Fiscal Commission and Department of Finance were in the Enga capital, Wabag for a four days consultation for the Upper Highlands region” “PNGEITI has been in operations since 2014 effected by a NEC decision and now we are moving into the next step in anchoring this extractive industry reporting process into PNG’s legal and administrative system. PNGEITI published 7 reports detailing activities taking placing inn the PNG mining and petroleum space,” Mr. Alkan said. Article Courtesy of PNG Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative