In brief: New Lae power station being launched this week, and other business news

Thermal power station launched this week, PNG DataCo and Telikom share fibre optics, Mainland Holdings expands wheat production. Your weekly digest of the latest business news.

PNG Power’s Acting CEO Alex Oa says the new 30-megawatt thermal power station at Munum just outside Lae city in Morobe Province is expected to be commissioned this week. PPL is confident the plant would be available for commercial operations by the end of the month. Munum would act as a back-up station to Ramu and would cater for about three-quarters of Lae city’s requirements.

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PNG Power’s Alex Oa. Credit: The National

PNG DataCo and Telikom PNG will share infrastructure to deliver telecommunication services. Telikom PNG Acting CEO, Xavier Victor, told The National a new agreement means that both parties will make available domestic and international cable capacity to each other. DataCo will provide fibre cable capacity to Telikom between Madang and Port Moresby via Lae, Goroka, Mt Hagen and Hides. Telikom will provide DataCo capacity on its cable between Madang and Sydney. However, the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission reportedly says the arrangement may raise competition issues.

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An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale which occurred 80km from Madang may have led to a cut in the Pipe Pacific Cable 1 (PPC-1), reports The Post Courier. The cable provides Telikom PNG’s second international gateway connecting Madang to Guam and Sydney.

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Mainland Holding’s plans to increase its acreage of wheat product sorghum from six hectares to more than 1500 hectares as it diversifies its business activities. Poultry manager Chris Prestwood told The Post Courier the company would be using the grain at its 7-Mile feed mill just outside Lae to manufacture stock feed. The current six hectares will harvest 300 tonnes this year at its Sasiang farm in Markham District.

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The cost of the Papua LNG project may come down now that ExxonMobil PNG, following its acquisition of InterOil, is coming on board, says Managing Director Andrew Barry.  ‘We think that with us coming in, the project will be done quicker, cheaper and more effectively and efficiently which ultimately will benefit the government, communities and the country,’ he told The National, adding Total remains the operator of the project.

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Four coffee industry officers have passed an international cupping examination process to become certified Arabica coffee graders (Q-graders) in Papua New Guinea. They now join the five Q-graders in the country.

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Sharlene Gawi with bilum. Credit: EMTV

The Bilum Export and Promotion Authority wants to see the bilum replacing plastic bags for shopping purposes. BEPA Executive Officer Sharlene Gawi told The National that following the Government’s proposal in 2015 to ban plastic bags in shops, the only issue now would be the cost of bilum compared to the plastic bag.

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The Investment Promotion Authority will waive penalty fees to reinstate companies in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville which were deregistered as a result of the Bougainville Crisis. They were deregistered by IPA due to their failure to file company annual returns.

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The World Bank has approved a credit of US$15 million (K48 million) to help combat PNG’s growing tuberculosis epidemic. The Australian government is matching that amount also. International stakeholders continue to wait for a government commitment to inject K50 million to fight TB hotspots in the National Capital District, Gulf Province and Western Province.

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Indonesia is expected to become a net importer of LNG by 2022 amid increasing domestic demand and declining output at mature gas fields, data from Fitch Group’s BMI Research shows. It estimates Indonesia’s gas demand will grow at an average annual rate of 4 per cent over the next decade, with the biggest demand coming from the power generation sector.

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Expedition member Thomson with a large tree in the PNG study area. Credit: Dr Michelle Venter

And finally, a survey of PNG’s lush primary forests from the coast to clouds in Morobe Province has revealed the high mountain tops may house the largest trees recorded globally at such extreme altitudes. Canadian Dr Michelle Venter, with the help of more than 70 local field assistants recorded trees growing 30-40 metres at altitudes of 2400-3100 metres, altitudes where forests struggle to reach more than 15 metres tall in other parts of the world.

 

 

 

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