Monier is Papua New Guinea’s largest producer of construction and building materials. In PNG’s demanding environment, a focus on quality has been key to its success.
Papua New Guinea’s demanding geography and climate means that if the building materials used to make roads, bridges or buildings are not of sufficient quality, they will be subject to failure.
‘The company provides materials for road construction projects and concrete products for the construction and building industry.’
If a designer designs a road for a 25-year lifespan, for example, poor quality products could reduce that lifespan back to as little as 10 to 12 years, with very high maintenance costs in the last five or six years.
Monier, PNG’s largest producer of building and construction materials, has therefore made quality its competitive advantage.
Based in Port Moresby, the company provides materials for road construction projects and concrete products for the construction and building industry.
‘The quarry was expanded in 2016 to increase annual output capacity from 300,000 to 1 million tonnes.’
It supplies ready-mix concrete, quarry products, pre-stressed and precast concrete products, masonry products and reinforced concrete pipes (the latter are used for sewerage and stormwater drainage).
A key advantage is having its own local source of building materials in Port Moresby, the Nebiri Quarry. Nebiri provides the key ingredients that are required for developing infrastructure, including aggregates, road base, armour rock, sand and select fill.
The quarry was expanded in 2016 to increase annual output capacity from 300,000 to 1 million tonnes, with French-based Metso designing, constructing and commissioning its new production facility.
As a rule, the company certifies its products to at least Australian standards. It has its own laboratory, accredited by PNG Laboratory Accreditation Services, which tests products at a higher level than Australian requirements.
While most (99 per cent) of its customers are private companies, Monier also supplies the Department of Works, the NCDC, and other government agencies.
Road upgrades in Port Moresby and Central Province over the last couple of years have been beneficiaries of Monier’s products.
The company also sends non-perishable products (pipes, pre-cast and bagged quarry products, for example) out to the New Guinea Islands and into PNG’s Highlands.
Like many companies in PNG, Monier is taking advantage of the current business hiatus in the country to run a program to boost efficiency and reduce costs.
Through natural attrition, its workforce has reduced in the last two years from about 300 people down to about 260.
‘While Monier is a PNG company, established back in 1958, the Monier name is actually much older.’
To reduce its reliance on expat workers, a program of localisation is in place.
This has proved successful, with a number of PNG-born senior managers in the workforce, who have not only been trained in-house but have also been sent overseas for professional development.
While Monier is a PNG company, established back in 1958, the Monier name is actually much older. It traces its history back to the 1800s, when Joseph Monier, then the head horticulturalist at the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, came up with the idea of steel-reinforced concrete. He developed patents for various design elements.
Because of the cost of upkeep on patents, he sold the patents around the world, which is why each Monier company around the world is a stand-alone operation in each country (for instance, Monier in PNG has no connection with Monier in Australia).
For years the PNG company was owned by Steamships, which sold it to Sir Theo Constantinou in 2005.
With long-term value for money becoming an increasing priority in building and construction projects in PNG, it looks set to play a major role in development of the country’s infrastructure in the years to come.