TROUBLED PNG COPRA MILL UP FOR SALE

admin's picture

By Baeau Tai

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 12) - KOKOKAS
Indastri Koporesen (KIK) will invite bids for its Madang Copra Mill next month,
KIK's chief executive Ted Sitapai said yesterday.

He said the mill has the capacity to crush 50,000 tons of copra
but it was only crushing an average of between 15,000 to 20,000 tons
annually. 

"The mill has a huge capacity of taking 50,000 tons of
copra but it is only getting 40 per cent of that," he said, adding that the
mill has "become a liability".

Continuous losses forced the mill to be placed in the hands of a
receiver manager recently. 

The KIK Board in July appointed Rex Paki of Rams Business
Consultants as liquidator after receiving financial and legal advice on
continuing losses incurred by the mill, but it was later decided to keep it
operating.

In the first five months of this year the mill lost over K1
million. 

The KIK Board had already written off losses of K4 million
incurred under the former Copra Marketing Board (CMB), which was owed a further
K5 million.

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Moses Maladina agreed the
mill has a large capacity that "wasn't being utilized".

He said it would not be prudent on the part of KIK to sell the
mill to any buyer under the current situation, "but as I've always said if
it was to be sold, the local growers would get the first priority in purchasing
it."

"Obviously they would have to come up with the funding
arrangements and everything else but at this point in time, it wouldn't be wise
to just off load it. We need the mill to take in the copra," Maladina
said. 

KIK and the National Government are seriously looking at
downstream processing and the prospect of extracting value-added materials from
the coconut. 

The KIK Board is currently inviting bidders to participate in a
nationwide project to install a wide range of mini mills that could crush up to
20 metric tons of copra a day. 

Sitapai said the mini mills would be linked up to the main copra
mills in Madang and Rabaul where surplus copra could be sold to the mills for
export while the local people would be encouraged to make by-products like soap
and shampoo.

Maladina said they were looking at different kinds of mills with
smaller capacities to cater for families and local communities

"It might mean looking at other countries like India where
they have different kinds of capacity mills, unfortunately we don't have that
technology at this stage," Maladina said. 

August 13, 2003

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/ 

 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment