PNG UTILITY PLANS $409 MILLION POWER STATION

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 25, 2008) – PNG Power Limited is to build a new power station at a cost of PGK1.1 billion [US$409 million] to boost power supplied by the Yonki Hydro power system.

The new Ramu 2 hydro power station, when completed, would supply power to the Ramu nickel and the Marengo gold projects in Madang Province as well as pump up power supply to the Highlands and parts of Mamose.

This was revealed by the Independent Public Business Corporation yesterday in Lae.

"We are waiting for the power purchase agreement to be signed between PNG Power Limited and the developer of the Ramu Nickel Project,’’ IPBC general manager Robert Nilkare said.

"The Ramu nickel project is going to be our anchor client," Mr Nilkare said, adding the agreement was not signed yet between the two parties.

When addressing the press, Mr Nilkare said the new hydro station would produce 240 mega- watts of electricity to supply the two resource projects and this was different from the Yonki toe of the dam project undertaken by PNG Power Ltd.

The Yonki Toe project, he said, would produce only 80 mega- watts power and this was to supply electricity to the Hidden Valley and Wafi gold projects in Bulolo, Morobe Province.

The construction of the new electricity stations at the Yonki hydro power system is expected to ease the present power failures experienced by consumers in Lae City, Madang and the highlands in recent months.

The private sector, as well as the ordinary consumers, have voiced their concern over the frequent and unplanned blackouts that had affected their operations and lives.

The Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry has identified the power supply problem as one of several major impediments to doing business in Papua New Guinea. It’s president, Alan McLay informed the members of the chamber last week the PNG Chamber of Commerce and Industry was trying to address these impediments by taking it up with the Government to re-establish the National Working Group on Impediments to Business so dialogue could begin again.

"The new project is a priority and we will undertake it as soon as the power purchase agreement is in place," Mr Nilkare said.

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