During Challenging Times For Industry, PNG Attends Mining Conference In Australia


Last 2 years have been 'roller coaster ride' for resource producers

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 6, 2016) – The mining conference has come at a time when the world faces steep challenges in sliding commodity prices, the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum says.

Chamber president Gerea Aopi said this at the opening of the 14th Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference underway in Sydney, Australia.

He said 24 months ago there were concerns about sliding world prices and two years later, the situation remains equally challenging, but with some rays of hope.

Under the conference theme "Delivering on Growth Opportunities" Mr Aopi said there has never been a more challenging time for the industry.

"Twenty four months ago, when we met in this very room, the global commodity market was cloudy and there were a lot of concerns and many worried people. Unfortunately, two years later, the situation remains equally challenging, but with some rays of hope," he said.

He said this confidence is seen in some gradual recovery in commodity prices since the last conference.

"However, we all know the commodity price market is cyclical and it will take some time before we see any major rebound in prices," he said.

Mr Aopi said the last two years have been a roller coaster ride for most producing projects in PNG.

"PNG has been impacted by the El Nino and the fluctuating commodity prices, as for the resource sector, we have faced a level of uncertainty due to the various reforms underway.

"Some of these include proposed changes to the Mining Act and the recent tax measures announced as part of the government budget process," Mr Aopi said.

He said the El Nino induced drought caused the only copper producing mine, OK Tedi to a halt for nearly seven months while production at Porgera gold mine was also briefly halted by this natural calamity.

Ramu Nickel, PNG’s only nickel and cobalt mine, was also forced to cease production following a fatality at its Basamuk processing facility.

Mr Aopi said times are tough for exploration around the globe.

"A decline in exploration impacts many rural Papua New Guineans, through the loss of direct employment, loss of business for small businesses owners and suppliers that provide goods and services to support these exploration projects.

"We have to seriously ensure that this downward trend does not continue, while we have little or no control over the global commodity price market.

"What PNG can control is the fiscal and legal frameworks that directly impact this sector, our aim must be to ensure PNG can continue to grow existing projects and also fosters an environment conducive to attract new investments," he said.

PNG Post-Courier
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