In brief: Tolukuma to go into full production and other business news

Gold mine to go into full production, royalties scrutiny and better access to basic infrastructure.  Your weekly digest of the latest business news.

Tolukuma gold mine, in Central Province, will begin full production next month, according to the Post Courier. The mine will be operated by Tolukuma Gold Mines Limited, a subsidiary of Asidokona Mining Resources Pty Limited. Tolukuma Gold Mines’ Executive director Vincent Siow said the firm had taken over from Petromin.

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A leading Papua New Guinea MP has welcomed Australian Senate scrutiny of non-payment of royalties to LNG Project landowners. Patrick Pruaitch, who was removed as Treasurer last month reportedly said no project stakeholder should distance itself from its obligations. According to RNZI, Western Australia’s Senator Scott Ludlam has asked why the Australian government’s Export Finance Insurance Corporation had not taken measures to ensure payments were made.

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Nara villagers, in the Kairuku district, enjoy the results of an improved water supply. Source: World Bank

More than 200,000 people in remote communities across Papua New Guinea will benefit from a new World Bank project that will improve access to basic infrastructure and vital services. The Rural Service Delivery Project, approved this week by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, will provide development grants to support small-scale investments across East New Britain, West Sepik, Simbu and some areas of Central and Western Provinces. The US$23 million (K73 million) credit will support the upgrading of schools, health centres, community water and sanitation supplies, as well as lead to improvements to access roads, footbridges, jetties and solar power systems.

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St Barbara, owner of the Simberi gold mine, has said it has entered into forward gold contracts to secure a reliable cash margin on an additional 50,000 ounces of the New Ireland Province operation’s anticipated production in the 2018 financial year. A total of 50,000 ounces of forward gold contracts are to be delivered in monthly instalments from July 2017 to June 2018 at a forward price of $A1730 (K4,156) per ounce.

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Sophia-Joy Soli  has won the 2017-2018 Hubert Humphrey Fellowship, according to the US Embassy in Port Moresby.  Soli will use the program, at Michigan State University, to explore business and supply chain fundamentals for the transport and logistics sector.

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Prime Minister Peter O’Neill presented employer awards at the 2017 PNGHRI Annual National Conference held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in May. The best large private sector employer was BSP. The best small private sector employer was Lifu Holdings.
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Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on the construction site of Western Pacific University.

A new university in the Southern Highlands is under construction, providing an opportunity for up to 6000 students to gain a tertiary education. Western Pacific University will become the fifth state-owned university and the seventh university in the country. According to EMTV, the Higher Secretary for Education, Fr Jan Czuba, has the task of managing the construction and establishment of the university.

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The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)  has banned the Papua New Guinea-flagged Kiunga Chief cargo ship from using Australian ports for three months after detecting scores of deficiencies in several areas including safety, maintenance and crew conditions. AMSA has issued the ship 79 deficiencies since August 2015.

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Era Resources has said shareholders have overwhelmingly approved the proposed ‘going-private’ transaction. The arrangement was approved by 99.89 per cent of the 118,590,123 votes cast by shareholders. If all the legal approvals are obtained, the share consolidation arrangement is expected to close around June 14. Era is the owner of the Yandera copper exploration development in Madang Province.

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Harvest logs in PNG. Credit: RNZI/Johnny Blades

And, finally, the United Nations says the protection of tropical rainforests in Papua New Guinea is a global responsibility. The comment was made by the UN Development Program’s resident representative in PNG during the celebration of world environment day. Roy Trivedy, the UN Development Programme’s Resident Representative in PNG, told Radio New Zealand that if PNG is to prevent deforestation it will need financial support from the rest of the world.

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