In brief: Bougainville’s President ends speculations about the future of Panguna and other business stories


President Ishmael Toroama says Bougainville is not ‘colluding’ with third parties to reopen Panguna, new project to increase regional and international trade in the Pacific, and potential date for the launch of ISEZ’s project program.

Ishmael Toroama Bougainville

Bougainville’s President Ishmael Toroama. Credit: ARB


After recent speculation about the future of the Panguna mine, Bougainville’s President, Ishmael Toroama, released a statement to clarify that his government is not ‘colluding’ with third parties to reopen the mine. The message seems to be in response to a statement from the landowner group Panguna Tangkuúrang Chiefs that claimed they’d given approval for Australian mining company Caballus to work on the mine.

Toroama said that his government is committed to protecting landowner rights. ‘Any company wishing to develop Bougainville’s mineral resources be it Panguna or the exploration of a green field site must come through the proper channels,’ he said. ‘The Panguna Mine remains a very sensitive issue on Bougainville and parties wishing to reopen it must maintain a sense of decorum that respects the land, the landowners and the ABG.’  (ABG)

Special economic zones

Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Member for Kikori, Soroi Eoe, reportedly said that Prime Minister Marape ‘has accepted our invitation to visit the project site [Ihu Special Economic Zone in Gulf Province] to formally launch the project program.’ The expected day for the launch is 19 February. (PNG Sez Blog)


Pacific Islands Forum

The Ambassador of the EU to the Pacific, H.E Sujiro Seam with the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor at the signing ceremony. Credit: Pacific Islands Forum

The Pacific Island Forum Secretariat and the European Union have signed the $US5.75 million (K20 million) project Strengthening Pacific Intra-Regional and International Trade (SPIRIT), which aims to boost regional and international trade in the Pacific. SPIRIT will help implement trade agreements and contribute to the development of a statistical monitoring framework, among other things.

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The Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific, H.E Sujiro Seam said: ‘With a market of 500 million consumers, the European Union is a business partner for the Pacific. This SPIRIT project comes at the right time, to alleviate the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Pacific economies, build value and growth in the region and take advantage of the business opportunities offered in the European market.’ (Pacific Islands Forum)


GSMA has selected a consortium to help in the design, development and testing of a credit product based on smallholder farmer needs. The consortium consists of agribusiness Kamapim Ltd, which operates in Madang Province; agritech Field Buzz, and licensed micro bank in PNG MiBank. GSMA will offer the consortium consultancy, product development support and research. (GSMA)


Despite the challenges brought by the COVID pandemic, Oil Search has recorded a strong performance for Q4 of 2020, with a record annual PNG LNG production rate of 8.8 MTPA (gross), total net annual production up four per cent from 2019 and Q4 operating revenue of US$259.5 million (up 37 per cent from Q3).

The company’s Managing Director, Dr Keiran Wulff, said ‘Oil Search has delivered another solid quarter’ and highlighted that the company’s projects are also regaining momentum. ‘During the quarter, the PNG Parliament passed all remaining amendments to Acts for Papua LNG fiscal stability. Extensive assurance reviews were complemented for the Pikka Unit Development [in Alaska] and the project is ready to enter front-end engineering and design (FEED).’

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