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Haiveta to seek mining tax relief

By Daniel Korimbao

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (October 26, 2001 – The National)--New Mining Minister Chris Haiveta intends to immediately address some of the major difficulties affecting the mining sector in the country today.

Mr. Haiveta said yesterday that one of the first things he intend to do is ask the government for some company tax relief to kick start exploration activities, which have slowed down, and bring new mines to the production stage sooner.

The industry has been calling on the government to remove the additional profits tax, introduced in the 2001 budget, which they say was proving an obstacle to new development.

Only US$ 9.2 million is being spent on exploration in the country this year, down from over US$ 80 million over 10 years ago, while grassroots exploration in 2001 was nil.

Mr Haiveta said there was nothing much he could do about the low prospecting activities except remove tax impediments and provide incentives to attract companies back.

He said mining was important because it brings in export earnings, and its contribution makes up 40 percent of the country's income.

He urged department Secretary Kuma Aua, who Cabinet yesterday reappointed for a further three years, to work closely with him in the next seven months.

Mr Haiveta was speaking during a handover ceremony with former Minister Peter Ipatas, who has returned to the Enga province to be governor.

Mr. Haiveta said he will also pay close attention to outstanding issues at the Porgera mine, develop the alluvial mine and hard rock exploration at Mt. Kare, and review all the tenements on Bougainville that are held by CRA.

Mr. Haiveta began consultations on these issues with senior department and divisional heads yesterday afternoon.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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