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$300 million investment to primarily process jatropha

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 17, 2009) – The Government has signed documents effecting the development of a US$300 million bio-fuel project in parts of East Sepik and Sandaun provinces.

Project developers SPZ Enterprise Ltd yesterday indicated starting on the ground work as soon as possible after signing a memorandum of agreement.

SPZ Enterprise managing director Peter Song told Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris, who signed on behalf of the Government, that much of the project would involve the Jatropha curcas, a plant that could grow almost anywhere, even on gravelly, sandy and saline soils.

It can also thrive on the poorest stony soil and grow in the crevices of rocks.

He said the jatropha seeds would be crushed to produce jatropha oil, which can be processed to produce a high-quality bio-fuel.

The residue (press cake) could also be processed and used as biomass feedstock to power electricity plants or used as a fertiliser.

Mr. Song also indicated developing oil palm, cocoa, coffee and other cash crops.

Mr. Kapris told reporters yesterday that the project would generate huge returns for people of Ambunti-Dreikikir, his Maprik electorate and Wosera Gawi in East Sepik and Aitape-Lumi in Sandaun province.

Ambunti-Dreikikir MP Tony Aimo, who is also Correctional Service Minister, said he was grateful that the project was about to be realised after being shelved for 13 years.

The National:

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