Resource Sector’s Preferred Camp Provider
by PNG Business News - June 03, 2022
Photo: Ark buildings are easily assembled by local workers, thus assisting developers achieve their local content objectives by providing training and employment for people in their footprint communities
Prefabricated modular building supplier, Ark Pacific, continues to increase its market share in the provision of camps across PNG’s resource sector. With a low freight footprint (up to 75 percent less) and proven commitment to quality and after sales service, Ark’s fit-for-purpose buildings are perfect for camps and a multitude of other building types required by mining and oil and gas operations.
Introduced to PNG during the LNG construction phase in 2010 for a 1,000 person multi-storey camp accommodation complex and office facilities, there are now thousands of Ark building modules around the country. Significantly, all of Ark’s buildings are assembled by local community workforces, thus helping developers achieve their local content objectives.
Ark has long-term building supply partnerships with several of its resource clients. General Manager, Cassius Ruka, who spent his childhood in PNG as well as most of his working life, knows the importance of building genuine client partnerships. Central to these partnerships is Ark’s commitment to after sales service and continuous quality improvement.
“We do whatever we can to make our buildings even better for our clients. Right now, Ark Pacific, is engaged in the process of working closely with one of PNG’s biggest mines to further improve the quality, design, constructability, and longevity of their buildings. This has involved carrying out inspections and conducting interviews with a range of stakeholders, including asset owners, construction project managers, maintenance coordinators, and facility end users. The data we’re gathering from this process will be used to develop an even better product, that is buildings that are increasingly fit for purpose, have enhanced longevity, and can accommodate the mine’s unique environmental factors and remoteness.”
Ruka is well versed in the challenges remotely located resource operations face when it comes to procuring camp accommodation and other buildings. “Irrespective of whether you’re an island operation like Lihir or a highland operation like Porgera, you need to be 100 percent certain that your buildings – which represent a major capex investment – are durable and can withstand whatever nature throws at them. Sulphur and salt, as well as excessive rain and moisture will all reduce building longevity. You also need to be able to get the buildings to site as easily and cost-effectively as possible which is incredibly difficult given remoteness combined with the state of our road network and current freight prices.”
Ark modular building units are engineered specifically for the harsh conditions of remote resource operations. Furthermore, clients can save up to 75 percent on their freight costs because Ark’s modular componentry is specifically engineered so that six of its flat pack units are equivalent to a single 20-foot shipping container when stacked together ready for transport. “In other words,” says Ruka, “instead of using five, six or seven trucks to get our units to the job site, the client only needs one.”
In addition to the low freight costs and durability associated with Ark Pacific’s prefabricated modular building systems, Ruka says his resource clients also benefit from:
- After sales services: Regular follow up and ongoing communication (i.e., not just from design through to handover, but for years afterwards).
- Quality guarantee: Cost of any defects 100 percent covered by Ark.
- Multiple configurations: Modules can be utilised for a multitude of building types and layouts (i.e., a range of ancillary buildings in addition to camps, such as offices, laboratories, messes, etc.,)
- Furniture and equipment supply: From office and bedroom furniture to commercial laundry and kitchen equipment.
- Local workforce assembly: Developer achieves local content objectives and local workers secure training and employment.
- Repurposability: Unbolt and disconnect the modules from one another to transport to another site and bolt them back together in a similar or different configuration.
- Buildings that ‘Give Back to PNG’: The repurposability of Ark buildings mean that they can be donated to footprint communities after they’re no longer needed by the developer.
To learn more about Ark Pacific, including its diverse range of fit for purpose camps and ancillary buildings, as well as the advantages of its unique building systems: www.arkpacific.net
PNG Business News - April 21, 2021
Innovative Flat Pack Engineering – 75 % Freight Reduction’
Ark Pacific has cleverly engineered its flat pack buildings to guarantee a minimum freight footprint for its clients. Unlike competing products, six of Ark’s high quality flack pack units are equivalent to a single standard 20 foot shipping container when stacked together ready for transport. Not only are freight costs drastically reduced (by up to 75 percent) but so too are carbon emissions. Furthermore, the ease and speed with which the flat packed buildings can be transported to site is greatly improved. Land freight costs in particular, greatly add to the cost of building in PNG, especially in remote locations. Although Ark Pacific does not compete solely on price, the considerable freight savings associated with its flat pack systems enable it to be one of the lower cost building alternatives without compromising on quality. A recent mining client was able to transport all of the flat pack componentry required for five office blocks, one ablution block and one crib room on just one semi-trailer truck – competing modular products would have required up to eight trucks. In addition to reducing freight costs and therefore the overall cost of construction projects, building with Ark Pacific flat packs also help reduce a client’s environmental footprint. For example, one truck travelling between Lae and the Highlands obviously produces considerably less emissions than eight trucks. Moreover, fewer trucks have less negative impact on unsophisticated road infrastructure, including many of the unsealed and rough roads servicing mining sites. Popular with its resource clients, Ark Pacific products also have the advantage of quick assembly utilising local and unskilled workforces. A basic one-room accommodation unit can be installed in a single day. To date, all of the thousands of Ark modules across PNG have been installed by local content. Ark Pacific’s team of managers are available to oversee any construction project if required. With a 10 year presence in PNG, new resource client projects in 2021 include a Crusher Facility Office and Electrical & Instrumentation Building (both two-storey), as well as the project cited earlier. Ark Pacific is also halfway through constructing a 750 person mining camp (16 x two-storey buildings; 54 ensuited rooms per building). Initially having specialised in camp accommodation and office complexes for the resource sector, Ark Pacific has recently refined and expanded its residential housing product range. Durable and fit-for-purpose designs – ideal for community relocation projects as well as senior staff housing – are now available. Ark Pacific reports that it is not experiencing any supply chain difficulties due to COVID-19. Furthermore, given its reliance on local labour for installation (as opposed to expatriate personnel impacted by travel restrictions), clients have been able to commence their builds as soon as the flat packs arrive on site. To learn more about Ark Pacific, including how its flat pack systems can minimise your construction project’s freight footprint: www.arkpacific.net
PNG Business News - July 15, 2021
Expanding in PNG and Exploring Africa & Indonesia
Flat pack building specialist Ark Pacific is further expanding its business in Papua New Guinea while simultaneously exploring opportunities in both Africa and Indonesia. The company’s growth and international business development initiatives are on the back of 10+ years’ project delivery in Papua New Guinea, primarily in the resources sector. The first half of 2021 has seen Ark Pacific continue to deliver a diverse range of buildings throughout PNG for multiple resource sector clients. Ark buildings (i.e., mining camps, office facilities, ablution blocks, workshops, senior staff housing, etc.,) are being assembled at both remote inland and island resource operations. To date, there are thousands of Ark building modules – all assembled by local workforces – to be found across the country. General Manager, Cassius Ruka, who has over 10 years’ experience in PNG’s construction and mining sectors, describes Ark’s building systems as “perfectly suited” to the remote and challenging conditions of resource operations. “Mining companies prefer our buildings for several reasons” said Ruka. “They are designed and engineered to minimise freight (which in turn reduces client costs and the environmental impact of transporting them), they’re super quick and easy to install even by unskilled workforces, we use high quality steel as opposed to wood which means less maintenance and greater durability, and there are almost endless design options because the modules can be put together in a multitude of configurations.” Ark’s design team works closely with their clients. Most recently they’ve been collaborating with a major gold mining company on the design of a new minerals testing laboratory. “The client wanted us to do a few things differently and achieve even greater cost efficiencies through minimising the use of on-site concrete by utilising galvanised steel column footings instead which we manufacture ourselves and ship as part of the kit” said Ruka. “We can be very flexible with our designs and the design process and anticipate finalising the laboratory build early in 2022.” The travel restrictions and cost cuttings brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in construction clients all over the world needing to restructure their onsite requirements to accommodate more long term staff. Ark Pacific is responding to these changes by going back to the drawing board for some of its clients. An example of which involves redesigning senior management housing layouts; transforming them into high density accommodation blocks. The popularity of Ark buildings in PNG’s resource sector inspired Ruka to look further afield to grow his business. “There are plenty of parallels between what PNG’s resource sector needs in its buildings and what’s required by resource operations in many African countries and Indonesia. In other words, our flat pack building systems which are perfect for PNG are equally suited to resource projects over there too.” Ark Pacific are looking to penetrate the African and Indonesian market via partnerships with Australia’s Mincore and Lycopodium. The companies are working together on feasibility studies on several greenfield opportunities.
PNG Business News - February 08, 2022
Ark Pacific’s Increased Production Capacity and Client Growth
The resource sector’s preferred prefabricated modular building supplier, Ark Pacific, commenced 2022 with numerous buildings for multiple clients in its design, engineer, supply and construction pipeline. The New Year also saw Ark’s production capacity increase by 100 percent, with its main factory now capable of producing 1,000 building modules per month due to enhanced automated technology. Ark modular building systems were introduced to PNG in 2010 during the LNG construction phase when they were used for a 1,000 person multi-storey accommodation complex and associated support buildings. There are now thousands of Ark building modules – all assembled by local workforces – to be found across the country. Impressively, the company grew its client base during the challenging business environment of COVID-19 impacted 2020 and 2021. An achievement due to its reputation for after sales service, as well as for its tough and easy-to-assemble buildings, ideal for remote operations where specialist construction skills are in short supply. General Manager Cass Ruka, who has nearly 20 years’ experience living and working in PNG, says that accommodation and administration buildings have long been the company’s ‘top sellers’ but that clients are also now sourcing more ‘technical’ and ‘specialist’ buildings from Ark. “Our modules have been engineered to suit almost infinite building types and configurations” says Ruka. “This is why we’ve been able to design, engineer, supply and help construct an increasingly broad spectrum of customised and fit for purpose buildings, many of which have been for PNG resource clients.” Ruka cites laboratories and specialist geology and crushing facilities as examples of the growing number of Ark building types to be found in PNG. A recent example of a customised building Ark designed, manufactured, and delivered for the PNG resources sector is a Minerals Laboratory Complex, comprising 11 separate labs, offices, crib room and ablution facilities. The project’s design phase took 12 months in partnership with the client, as well as laboratory equipment design specialists MARC, the result of which is a ‘gold standard’ testing facility. The modular componentry for the laboratory was manufactured in December 2021, shipped to the client in January, with construction scheduled to commence by the end of the first quarter. Like others in the construction sector, Ruka is positive about the predicted 2022 upswing in PNG’s resources sector. “The timing is pretty well perfect for us because of the increased capacity of our main factory, which we are working to increase further throughout 2022. A compounding advantage for us when we look at the inflated freight price increases over the last couple of years, is our very low freight footprint in comparison to our competitors.” Ruka says that clients can save up to 75 percent on their freight costs because Ark’s modular componentry is specifically engineered so that six of its flat pack units are equivalent to a single 20 foot shipping container when stacked together ready for transport. “Another way to look at this” explains Ruka “is that instead of using five, six or seven trucks to get our units to the job site, the client only needs one.” To learn more about Ark Pacific, including its diverse range of fit for purpose buildings and advantages of its unique building systems: www.arkpacific.net
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PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Creating decent income-earning opportunities for rural communities in Papua New Guinea under road maintenance programme
EU Funded UN Joint STREIT PNG Programme, as part of its mission to support efforts towards reducing rural poverty, is engaging local communities with a focus on struggling single parents as a support workforcefor maintenance of 18 selected farm-to-market roads in the Sepik region. Led by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the creation of these employment opportunities in remote communities where there are limited income-generating activities because of lack of accessible roads to markets is a relief to many disadvantaged households. This month the ILO team visited some of these beneficiaries who are employed in the Road Maintenance Groups (RMGs) working on a 17.7km-long Walkasa Mai-Wanwan road and an 8km-long Yiminum-Wilbowe road in the Nuku District of Sandaun Province. For the beneficiaries, this is a lifetime opportunity for a regular and steady income to support their and their families' everyday needs, and one important concern for the struggling families is paying for their siblings' and kids' school fees and associate costs. Among the struggling families are some widows like Marathia, aged 59, from Yiminum Village, who works on the Yiminum-Wilbowe road. "My husband died, and we were really struggling because our families have their own problems to take care of. Now, I'm very happy with this job which I joined last year. It helps with school fees for my children," said Marathia. Marathia was left with five children to support, including one who is attending final year studies at a vocational training nearby. With the income as an RMG, she was able to pay PGK 500 school fee last year and early this year she paid PGK 250. She said the community is also happy to see her contribution in a job they usually see as for men only. For youths like Jena Suwa this employment opens a new window to their life. She was not able to complete her studies after year 10 in 2018. "I'm very happy today because I was doing nothing in the house. I will now save some money to prepare to go back to school to become a nurse," said Jena. Sony Apo is another youth who completed Grade 8 in 2015 and is looking forward to some money to upgrade. He dreams of becoming a carpenter to continue the legacy of his late 'big daddy'. "Big daddy was the only skilled man we had in the family, and now I'm ready to become a carpenter as well," he said. The main works that encompass the road routine maintenance aspect to be undertaken by the RMGs include pothole patching, vegetation clearing, drainage and general cleaning along the road in preparation for engagement of a contractor to perform specific maintenance on these farm-to-market access and feeder roads. Safety gears and road maintenance tools like boots, gloves, vests, safety helmets, spades, hoes, wheelbarrows were also among the tools and equipment provided and distributed by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme among the RMGs' members. During the visits, the Programme's Community Facilitator, Rachel Bowie also shared with the RMGs to demonstrate commitment in their work to take ownership in the routine maintenance of these roads because it will serve them, their families and their fellow community members. The mission also conducted a drone survey of a 14km-long Nanaha-Tau LLG access road in the Ambunti-Drekikier District, East Sepik Province. In consultation with Ward Members, locals, including youths and women, were also recruited to form RMGs to conduct routine maintenance for this road that will also service Drekikier Secondary. Under the Programme selection criteria, one RMG comprises six members that must have at least two females. The group must also have representation from youths, single parents whose partners have died or have deserted them and traditional owners of land the road passes through. The Programme, in partnership with MiBank, a local financial institution, is implementing cashless transactions and banking for rural farmers by opening bank accounts for these RMGs, and their payment is deposited directly at the end of every month. This arrangement encourages rural farmers to save and grow their earnings, which can be used to access small loan benefits. Under this rural agriculture development programme, 18 rural roads in the Sepik region totalling close to 300 km in length are being maintained or upgraded with the help of RMGs to support the market access initiative implemented by the EU-STREIT PNG Programme for rural and farming communities to boost agriculture production and agribusiness activities pertaining to three targeted cocoa, vanilla and fisheries agri-food value chains for an improved income and cash flow for the rural communities. The roads will also support other agricultural, business, social and community activities and facilities like schools, aid posts and health centres that are in dire need of better accessible roads. The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as the leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. The Programme aims to help improve the lives of the people from East Sepik and Sandaun provinces, by focusing on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through improved economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains while strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment, and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
PNG Business News - June 24, 2022
Santos welcomes new apprentices in higher-level program
Photo: Leon Buskens, Santos Country Chair PNG meeting the 25 new apprentices in Port Moresby before their departure to the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia. Joining Mr Buskens and the apprentices are members of the Santos Training and People & Culture Teams. Santos is helping to equip Papua New Guinea’s next generation of oil and gas technicians with international qualifications. Ten females are among 25 novices who have joined the Santos 2022 Apprenticeship Program following a rigorous selection process which will see them train at the Institut Teknologi Petroleum Petronas (INSTEP) in Malaysia – 900 applications were received for the 2022 Program. Upon completion of the technician training at INSTEP, the apprentices will earn a Pearson Business Education Technology Council Level 2 and Level 3 UK qualification. Santos Country Chair for PNG, Leon Buskens when welcoming the apprentices, said: “You have joined at an exciting time following the merger between Oil Search and Santos. As the inaugural batch under the merged entity, there are greater opportunities for you to advance in all aspects of your career both in PNG and abroad. I encourage you to do your best and importantly, maintain a positive attitude and uphold your values - this is what will take you far on this journey. “This is the beginning, but you should be proud of yourselves as we are of you for making it this far. Congratulations and welcome to Santos.” Joining Mr Buskens to address the new cohort were pioneering trainees Cornelius Soagai, Senior Government Affairs Manager and Lydia Warubi, Deputy Occupational Health & Safety Manager. Mr Soagai went on to become the first national Production Manager in the Operations and Maintenance Department while Ms Warubi made waves as the first national female process technician to work at the Central Processing Facility. Both leaders encouraged the apprentices to maximize on the career development opportunities available to them at Santos. Among the cohort was Judy Sasa who completed the Company’s pre-apprentice program at the Kumul Petroleum Academy (KPA) in 2020. Judy finished at the top of her class and attained an honourable achievement award. A grateful Judy thanked Santos for a further opportunity to broaden her knowledge in oil and gas production. “My dream is coming true as I have always wanted to work in this industry,” Ms Sasa said. The 25 apprentices along with the Santos training team departed PNG for Malaysia last weekend. Two permanent employees were also part of the travelling party to INSTEP where they will train to become dual Electrical & Instrumentation tradesmen. Article courtesy of Santos
PNG Business News - June 23, 2022
PM Marape says East Sepik can become ‘economic powerhouse’ of PNG
Photo: PM Marape addressing the crowd in Maprik Prime Minister Hon. James Marape says East Sepik has the potential to become the “economic powerhouse” of Papua New Guinea. He said in Maprik recently (June 22 2022) that because of this potential, and in memory of founding Prime Minister the late Sir Michael Somare, the next Government would be formed in East Sepik. Present with the Prime Minister were East Sepik Governor Hon. Allan Bird (National Alliance), Angoram MP Hon. Salio Waipo (National Alliance), Maprik MP and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Hon. John Simon (Pangu) and Pangu candidate for Wosera-Gawi Ronald Asik. Sir Michael was instrumental in the formation of both Pangu and National Alliance “East Sepik has the potential to become the ‘economic powerhouse’ province of our country,” PM Marape said. “This is why I will bring Government formation to here: Firstly, in memory of Sir Michael, and secondly, in memory of Sir Pita Lus. “This will be the 11th Parliament, and the first Parliament without Sir Michael and Sir Pita being alive. “This will be symbolic that the nation is now being passed on to the next generation.” PM Marape said formation of the new Government in East Sepik would also inspire the new generation of leaders to hold on to the lofty ideals of the founding fathers like Sir Michael and Sir Pita. He said his Government, over the last three years, had passed major laws to fight corruption and promised the people of Papua New Guinea that some prominent leaders would be prosecuted after the elections. These include the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Whistle Blowers’ Act and Undisclosed Wealth Act. “What would be the point of Allan Bird and I growing the economy of the country when corruption is still prevalent?” PM Marape said. “We have managed to stifle corruption in the big way with passage of the three bills during the last term of Parliament. “Over the last three years, we have spent over K56 billion, which has grown the economy by K30 billion.” PM Marape said East Sepik’s economic powerhouse potential was in agriculture, through the vast Sepik Plains, and challenged the province to start growing rice on a large scale to reduce the huge K900 million rice import bill. “Over the next few years, and into the future, we want to grow our own rice for domestic consumption as well as export to Phillipines, Indonesia and the rest if the region,” he said. “Sir Michael, before his passing, said he had helped groom me up and asked me not to forget East Sepik into the future. “The way to achieve this is through economic independence. “I want every Papua New Guinean to have money in their pockets: Grow rice, grow cocoa, grow vanilla, look after cattle, bring in tourists, stop consumption of home brew, stop marijuana and other bad habits. “We are ready to take the country to the next level. “I want East Sepik to be an economic powerhouse no longer dependent on Waigani. “This is why I ask the people of East Sepik to send Allan Bird, John Simon, Salio Waipo and my Wosera-Gawi candidate Ronald Asik, Ambunti-Dreikikier candidate Richard Rafa and Wewak candidate Jim Simitab to Parliament. “ Article courtesy of PM JAMES MARAPE News Page