Cocoland Sugar Development Limited to be a Special Economic Zone in Abau, Central Province

By: PNG Business News May 20, 2024

The Minister for International Trade and Investment, Hon. Richard Maru recently announced that Cocoland Sugar Development Limited in Abau, Central Province, will be developed as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Minister Maru made this announcement in his meeting with the management team from Yaosoeng Sugar and Cane Consultant Company Limited (a Thai company) and the Abau MP, Hon. Sir Puka Temu.

The proposal is for a 40, 000-hectare sugar farm, a processing mill, and a power plant. This follows a very successful trial in Abau on the proposed sugar farm land. The plantation will produce 3 million tonnes of sugar every year with the target market to be PNG and other countries, especially Indonesia. The project is expected to create over 20, 000 jobs for Papua New Guineans.

“PNG is still importing sugar from Thailand despite the presence of Ramu Sugar in PNG, so we need another large-scale sugar project which will also be good for price competition,” said Minister Maru.

Minister Maru said this project will be developed as an SEZ and has the highest Government priority.

“We want to open a Diplomatic Mission in Thailand and having this project here in PNG gives us one reason why we should be in Thailand. We want to see more Thai companies coming and investing in PNG because there is a lot we can learn from them, and we can get more investments from Thailand. If we cannot get this project across the line then we will not have confidence from Thailand investors to come and invest in PNG, especially in large-scale agriculture projects. This project is important; it is an anchor investment for us because it affirms that our Government’s decision to open a Diplomatic Mission in Thailand is a very sound decision,” said Minister Maru.

Minister Maru further added: “I will be visiting Abau to see the project site before taking a Submission to the Cabinet to get their approval. This is very critical because once we have the approval, we can negotiate and sign a State Agreement between the State and the developer. The developer is keen to develop the large-scale sugar mill which will take over 2 years to construct with the sugarcane farm to cost USD126.01 million and the sugar mill and the power plant to cost USD295.01 million- a total of USD421.03 million. The investor is happy to fund the project itself or to partner the Government and other partners and wants to commence construction of the mill and the sugar estate this year.”

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