In brief: lease extension for Papua New Guinea’s Porgera mine refused and other business stories


Papua New Guinea to take over Porgera mine, Mining Minister looks to restart Wafi-Golpu discussions, and domestic travel restrictions. The business news you need to kickstart your week.

Aerial view of Porgera gold mine. Credit: PJV


Prime Minister James Marape announced on Friday that PNG would take control over the Porgera gold mine, refusing to extend the lease of the mine to Barrick (Niugini) Limited. This puts an end to months of speculation over the future of the mine. (Business Advantage PNG)


The mining company St Barbara, the operator of the Simberi gold mine in New Ireland Province, has suspended fieldwork exploration outside mining leases in Australia, Canada and PNG to minimise the risk of staff and communities from COVID-19. (The National)


On Thursday last week, the K92 mine was closed and its 350 staff, management and personnel were removed from the site and  accommodated in hotels in LAE. The closure was due to a ‘landowner issue’, reported the Lae Chamber of Commerce (LCCI). At the time of writing, K92 hadn’t made an official comment.


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Discussions of the P’nyang gas project in Western Province have resumed, as per Oil Search in its 2020 Q1 report. ‘Discussions have resumed with the State, aimed at reaching an agreement that is fair and balanced for all stakeholders,’ said Oil Search. The P’nyang Gas Agreement is also key for the Papua LNG project to move into feed phase.

In the same report, Oil Search announced a 13 per cent fall in sales because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 full year investment expenditure reduced by about 40 per cent and US$700 million (K2.4 billion) equity raised.

‘While the company is now in a robust position to withstand a sustained period of low oil prices, we are undertaking further measures to drive down breakeven costs across our business,’ said its Managing Director, Keiran Wulff. (Oil Search)


Mining Minister Johnson Tuke said that his ministry, agency partners and stakeholders are looking at restarting the discussions concerning the Wafi-Golpu mine project. He told the Post-Courier: ‘I want us to progress and start discussions this week. We have conducted preliminary discussions prior to the court case so now that the court case is deferred and the chances of us going into discussion has to be taken on full now.’


Puma Energy has announced that jet fuel (Jet A-1) consumption has dropped by over 70 per cent because of the suspension of national and international flights because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (The National)


Credit: Air Niugini

Air Niugini has confirmed that all passengers flying domestic must complete the ‘Domestic Travel Application Form’ and get it approved before check in’. (Air Niugini)


In the National Emergency Order No, 25, the Commissioner David Manning, Emergency Controller, detailed travel restrictions to national and international travellers. He stipulated that ‘no person(s) may travel to Western Province, Sandaun Province and East Sepik Province unless authorised in writing’. All flights to and from airports except these three provinces are allowed but must comply with hygiene and social-distancing requirements and complete an Air Passenger Travel Form. The order came into effect on 25 April. (National Emergency Order No. 25)


Coffee trees

During a visit to the Coffee Industry Corporation in Goroka, John Simon, PNG’s Agriculture and Livestock Minister, said that the government would like to see an increase in coffee production by 20 to 30 per cent this year. ‘Close to K100 million each is required to increase coffee and cocoa production … This must be captured in the COVID-19 package to assist short- to medium-term intervention strategies such as rehabilitation exercises and/or providing incentives for farmers in this critical time to increase coffee and cocoa production.’ (The National)

Real estate

It’s been reported that Steamships Pacific Palms Property (SPPP) is working with tenants during these trying times. SPPP’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, David Toua, said: ‘The present circumstances are challenging for all involved in our business segment, both tenants and landlords … We continue to transact business on agreed terms and are working with our tenants to navigate these uncertain times as best as we possibly can.’ The National


NASFUND Contributors Savings and Loan Society is urging its over 127,000 members to access its services online because of the state of emergency. Its website can be accessed via mobile phone, tablets, laptop and desktop and members can check their account balance, checks and statements; apply for loans, transfer funds or withdraw funds and refunds. (Post-Courier)


Prime Minister Marape and Treasurer Ling-Stuckey during the meeting with MSME Council senior executives. Credit: LOOP PNG

The Marape-Steven government is seeking to work with the council to address some challenges brought upon the MSME sector by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Treasurer said: ‘We have a series of relief measures aimed at supporting PNG’s MSMEs, which will be announced once the cabinet has given its final approval – expected this week. These measures are part of a broader K5.6 billion economic stimulus package aimed at supporting people and the economy in these very difficult times.’ (LOOP PNG)


The Bank of Papua New Guinea is inviting bids for the tender of a  K1,000,000,000 PNG COVID-19 Bond. The auction closes at 12pm on 28 April and more information can be found here.


The World Bank has approved funding for three new projects in PNG totalling an aid package of over US$100 million (K343 million). The funds will fuel the projects IMPACT Health, PNG Agriculture Commercialisation and Diversification Project and Urban Youth Employment Project II. (World Bank)

Human resources

PNG’s Trade Union Congress (TUC) has highlighted the need to review the current labour laws to help protect private sector workers. The assistant General Secretary of the TUC, Anton Sekum, said: ‘If we go by law occasions like this, it triggers provisions to protect the workers.’ (Post-Courier)

Photograph of the week

Janet Sios, Director of Joie’s Tailoring, and Inspector Robert Wane. Credit: Joie’s Tailoring/Facebook

The PNG company Joie’s Tailoring has committed to donating 500 reusable, non-medical face masks to the NCD/Central Police. Joie’s Tailoring Director Janet Sios presented the first 200 face masks on 24 April to Inspector Robert Wane.

The tailoring company started making the face masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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