By: PNG Business News May 24, 2024

PNG CORE President Anthony Smaré presenting at a recent Information Session at UPNG

PNG already has a gold refinery, national mint and national bank says Anthony Smaré, President of PNG Chamber of Resources & Energy (PNGCORE) so PNG does not need to go to a tiny Singaporean company Refinery Holdings Pte Ltd to replace them in a deal which could render catastrophic damage to the PNG economy and financial system.

PNG has had its own gold refinery, Metals Refinery Operations (MRO), in Port Moresby for over 30 years. It is also 100% PNG-owned by the Pacific Balance Fund, which is in turn owned by PNG shareholders such as Mineral Resource Development Company (MRDC), Nasfund and thousands of ordinary Papua New Guineans. Additionally, PNG’s own State-owned mining company, Kumul Minerals Holding Limited which is worth over K8 billion, easily has the financial and technical capacity to build a new 3-million-ounce capacity gold refinery for K60 million in Port Moresby or Lae.

“If the National Government was consistent with its Take Back PNG philosophy, it should be either supporting Pacific Balance Fund, MRDC and Nasfund to upgrade and reopen MRO or allow Kumul Minerals to set up a new refinery. There is no need for the Government to give a monopoly over gold refining and other monopoly rights to this tiny unknown Singaporean company Refinery Holdings Pte Ltd, which doesn’t have any record in gold refining. Monopolies and a Gold Bill in favour of a foreign company is not required - let a PNG-owned gold refinery operate in a free market”.

“PNG already has its own mint - the role of producing PNG currency and coins is the exclusive role of the Bank of PNG, and it exercises this role as part of its broader independent sovereign function to manage monetary policy and it has played this role very successfully since 19 April 1975 with the inception of Kina and Toea. Bank of PNG also holds the country’s forex and cash reserves and can hold gold as the sovereign bullion bank. Bank of PNG is a State institution and is not foreign owned. These are important sovereign functions critical to the running of our economy and the safeguarding of the participation of Papua New Guineans in the economy. It makes no sense to give these sovereign roles to tiny unknown Refinery Holdings from Singapore who do not have any track record in issuing currency or managing gold reserves.”

“MRO has already put its hand up to work with Government as a PNG owned business to be considered over the alternate to refine gold. We also know that Kumul Minerals has already done its studies on building a refinery. We support the ambitions of MRO and Kumul Minerals and urge the Government to consider these PNG parties as part of its Take Back PNG mantra. There is no need to go to tiny companies overseas who have no track record or name in these industries.”

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