PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Oct. 2) There are positive signs that the Porgera mine will be given a new lease of life and continue its gold mining operations in Papua New Guinea’s Enga Province.

The president and chief executive officer of Barrick PNG, Greg Wilkins, gave PNG a strong positive signal about this at the weekend. Barrick has taken over the mine and all indications are that the company wants to not only continue with gold mining, but also extend exploration in that region as well as elsewhere in PNG.

Mining Minister Sam Akoitai, who has met with Mr. Wilkins, says it is the policy of the PNG Government to encourage new exploration and he fully supports the intentions of Barrick PNG. We should commend Mr. Akoitai for his leadership in the mining sector. He is the country’s leading campaigner for mining exploration and the passion and excitement in which he drives the government’s policy is instilling confidence in the mining and exploration companies about coming to invest in PNG.

Wilkins’ visit to PNG is in itself a significant event. It is not always that PNG gets a visit of this kind and it is most encouraging that he chose to come here himself to see what other potentials PNG has in terms of mining. The incentives the Government provided for mining exploration since coming into office in 2002 is paying healthy dividends for the country.

International mining companies are looking to PNG as the country with policies and conditions that are favorable for exploration. Our rating in the mining world is high and this is encouraging mining companies to come here. It is important for the future that the present policy is continued under any new government after the 2007 general elections to ensure PNG does reap the full rewards from mining investments.

Mining giants that are coming into PNG commit are committing huge resources into exploration believing that the gold posts will always remain as they are at present regardless of any changes at the political leadership level in the country. That is why it is critical that governments ensure consistency in policy so that the country can continue to attract more investments in the mining sector in the years to come.

We should say also that consistency in policy should also apply to all other investment sectors of the country. PNG has suffered enormously in the past from the frequent changes to policy that has come about as a result of frequent changes of government. Papua New Guineans want a better future that comes with stability in politics and consistency in policies that deliver wealth and improved living conditions.

October 3, 2006

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