Industry Group Says PNG’s Mining Sector In Slump

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Interests pull out of PNG due to operating pressures: director

By Jemima Garrett

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec. 2, 2013) – The Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum says the country's mining industry is experiencing its first downturn in a decade.

The Chamber says while the gas industry is booming, mining is facing difficult times in the wake of decreasing commodity prices and pressures on production.

Executive Director Greg Anderson had told Pacific Beat after 10 years of growth, it's a significant downturn.

"We had a magnificent cross-section of explorers including a very decent suite of majors in joint ventures," he said.

"Unfortunately many of those have now opted to pull out because of international pressures so it is definitely a challenge.

"We have... a very significant junior sector, but a lot of them are facing great pressures and I am afraid to say some of them will probably disappear."

Mining has formed a significant part of the PNG Government's revenue.

Mr Anderson says while the downturn hasn't hit the government's bottom line yet, it will definitely have an impact.

"We've got some growth in production, thank goodness, because we have some new projects but they are new and they are not significant tax contributors for some years," he said.

"So it will certainly affect the government's bottom line, particularly in the Ok Tedi situation because the commodity prices for both Ok Tedi products - copper and gold - were very high and they have both slumped."

Mr Anderson says despite the mining gloom, the country's LNG development is a bright spot.

"The two sectors have diverged quite considerably in the last 18 months because we had solid growth in both of them for nearly a decade," he said.

"Definitely oil and gas is fortunately doing extremely well still and we have got a very buoyant situation there, particularly for further LNG developments.

"We have got as we say the potential for further extensions and other developments and other gas developments as well so this is a very good story for such a small country."

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