In brief: Huawei’s data centre in Papua New Guinea exposed and other business stories


A report on Huawei’s data centre in Papua New Guinea suggests it has security vulnerabilities, the Frieda River project gets a no from the East Sepik Provincial Assembly and new internet prices expected this year. The business news you need to kickstart your week.

Frieda River gold mine. Credit: PanAust


Minister for Petroleum and Energy Kerenga Kua said during the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum seminar last week that the current resources laws have ‘issues’. He said that’s the reason the government ‘is carrying out a series of legislative reforms in mining and petroleum’. (The National)


The East Sepik Provincial Assembly voted ‘no’ to PanAust’s Frieda River, a major copper and gold project. The plans for the project have sparked concerns among local communities because of the potential disruption to the Sepik River system. (RNZ)


Lihir mine operator Newcrest Mining delivered its full-year results and announced that its underlying profit rose by 34 per cent to US$750 million; while its statutory profit (US$647 million) was 15 per cent higher than the previous year. Newcrest Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Biswas, said: ‘Newcrest delivered a solid performance for the financial year, producing 2.2 million ounces of gold at an AISC (all in sustainable cost) of US$862 per ounce … due to the considerable effort of our people to implement and sustain a range of monitoring and preventive measures, the impact of COVID-19 on our operations in FY20 was minimal.’ (Newcrest Mining)


A report provided to the Australian government has exposed the many vulnerabilities in a data centre built in PNG by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. According the Australian Financial Review, the document suggests the data centre has outdated encryption software and insufficient firewall settings for facilities ‘designed to store the entire data archive of the PNG government’.  (Australian Financial Review)

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State Enterprises Minister Sasindran Muthuvel has reportedly implied that PNG was obliged to use Huawei equipment because the K1.6 billion (US$470 million) funding for PNG’s telecommunciations rollout came from the Exim Bank of China.

The National reports ‘all projects were done by Huawei and Telikom and bmobile were saddled with Huawei’s equipment and [this] left them no choice but to go to them for network integration.’ (The National)


PNG can expect new internet retail prices as soon as the pricing review of the internet wholesale is completed next month, according to Timothy Masiu, Minister for Information & Communication Technology. The expected outcome of the review is lower wholesale prices. (The National)


Dirio Power said that because of the disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has caused around the world, it hasn’t been able to complete its switch yard project. ‘We have now rescheduled the launch to November this year,’ said Mineral Resources Development Company Managing Director, Augustine Mano. Dirio proposes to supply Port Moresby with 45MW of power using natural gas purchased from the PNG LNG Project. (Post-Courier)


Timothy Masiu, Minister for Information & Communication Technology, has reportedly said that he supports the merger of bmobile and Telikom PNG. ‘I know that it has taken time to come to this point where my colleague Minister for Public Enterprise [Sasindran Muthuvel] is ready to push the proposal to integrate our networks because he had to thoroughly consider all business options and ensure the appropriate numbers were before him.’ (Post-Courier)



Discussions between Bismark Maritime and the government are underway to renew the free freight scheme, Sam Basil, Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, told The National. He said: ‘We want this arrangement to continue as a subsidy but we are considering 75 per cent of freight to be paid by the government and the 25 per cent to be met by the shipping company.’


Last week the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) and the Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) of PNG signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their partnership. Sam Koim, IRC’s Commissioner General, said that ‘getting the CPA onboard is very critical because the accounting profession is the key to tax compliance’. (IRC)


The Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion has announced it has extended its services to the highlands region with the opening of an office in Goroka. The office will be the focal point to support the Market for Village Farmers Project. (LOOP PNG)


In its latest outlook for PNG, Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research forecast GDP growth in 2020 from minus 1.1 per cent to minus 1.6 per cent. The report also says that given the ‘increased risks to mining operations’, which could led to more fiscal pressures, the budget deficit for 2020 is expected to be 7.3 per cent of GDP.

Foreign affairs

During the inaugural PNG-China Joint Economic and Trade Committee Meeting, Joseph Varo, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, said that ‘PNG is willing to continue to tap into the potential of cooperation with China to further enhance the economic and trade relations between the two countries’. During the meeting, the Chinese representative said that the Asian country is ‘willing to continue strengthening practical cooperation in various fields with PNG’. (The National)

Picture of the week

While all the attention is focused around COVID-19, let’s not forget that PNG is also battling the African Swine Fever (ASF), an extremely contagious and lethal disease for pigs. The National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA) has released a map of the 11 active checkpoints within the current containment area in PNG’s Highlands. These checkpoints are at: 1–Ambua Gap, 2–Sumiya Junction, 3–Wara Angula, 4–Winja, 5–Pangu Junction, 6–Maip, 7–Takawas, 8–Rakamanda, 9≠Tomba (Kumul Lodge), 10–Tambul, 11–Nebilyer Bridge.

To report sick or dead pigs, call 18001332.

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